Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
Cavern – The Vaults
Reviewed – 11th February 2020
“lightening-up moments here and there could only reinforce its intrinsically powerful message”
Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands brought to the VAULT Festival by Papercut Theatre takes itself perhaps a bit too seriously – but is powerful nevertheless.
Lou is not exactly mentally stable. In fact, she is pretty much mentally unstable – but not in a pretty Hollywood way. She does not suffer silently. She is not a hero. She is not a delicate flower. When faced with the world that thinks of her as simultaneously dangerous and pathetic, Lou starts questioning if her problems do not actually became her own sense of self.
Played by diverse cast of four (Josie Charles, Joe Eyre, Hamza Siddique, Tricia Wey), each character filters their experiences with mental problems through their own lenses – lenses of different skin tones, ages, relationship and professional status. Their own struggles revolve around Lou’s struggles: sometimes different people play Lou, sometimes they all meet Lou during a group therapy, sometimes they date Lou, and sometimes Lou interacts with them to gain a deeper understanding of their own personal battles.
The entire play is wholly deconstructed for the audience (including loudly proclaimed scene changes and even in-play discussions about the intent behind the play), as quite boldly directed by Wiebke Green. The flow between scenes could have been perhaps a bit smoother – it is sometimes a bit difficult to empathise with the characters, let alone understand them. In print, the whole concept is probably very clear, however on stage a bit of framing for the sake of smoothness would be beneficial.
Needless to say, lighting by Holly Ellis is absolutely magnificent, especially in such a non-theatrical (although admittedly very cool) space as The Vaults. It is dynamic and surprising and perfectly amps things up when they start turning a bit monotonously serious.
Because here’s the rub – with all its brilliant qualities, Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands takes itself a tiny little bit too seriously. Not to say that its topic should be taken lightly as such – absolutely not – but lightening-up moments here and there could only reinforce its intrinsically powerful message.
Reviewed by Dominika Fleszar