Nine Foot Nine
Reviewed – 14th June 2018
“a fascinating dystopia that I was itching to explore further”
In the animal kingdom “roles, positions and structures change in a cycle of days”. Cara and Nate are about to have a baby when it starts, when women begin to grow. Sprouters, they call them, and they grow to nine foot tall. Sixteen years and eleven months later, Cara returns to visit the daughter she left behind to fight for the revolution. Alex Wood’s new play asks what would happen if the power balance of the world suddenly changed? And what impact might these changes have on everything from the political landscape to personal life stories.
The play strikes a beautiful balance between accessing a human narrative within this concept, of family and growing up, whilst still addressing the macro impact of this idea on structures and institutions of power. Furthermore, Sleepless Theatre’s commitment to making work that is suitable and accessible for everyone, audience members and artists alike, speaks for itself here. The actors are strong across the board, each convincing and nuanced in their performance. Paul O’Dea plays Nate, Cara’s loving but overly controlling husband, with a wonderful empathy and softness. Alexandra James plays Sophie, deeply relatable in her desire to be part of something that is changing and revolutionising the world, and beautiful to watch. Natalie Kimmerling’s Sophie is strong and stubborn, caught between the needs and desires of her parents, though at points her albeit justified anger can read a little one note.
Verity Johnson’s design sets the piece against an overlapping arrangement of semi-transparent geometric panels which light up with different colours over the course of the play, a beautifully clean design that responds to the narrative.
I wasn’t ready for it to end. The ending feels overly abrupt, and I would love to see a further act where Cara’s vision for a revolutionised London is realised. This is of course credit to how engaging the play’s concept is, a fascinating dystopia that I was itching to explore further.
This is an engaging and topical piece of theatre, well written and well-executed by cast and crew, that investigates pivotal questions about power, gender and family.
Reviewed by Amelia Brown
Photography by Katie Edwards
Nine Foot Nine
The Bunker until 7th July
Also by Sleepless Theatre Company