When it Happens
Tristan Bates Theatre
Reviewed – 30th July 2019
“a manic tour de force performed by a hugely talented cast”
Scatterjam Theatre’s When It Happens by Rachel Causer, is part of the 2019 Camden Fringe Festival. This delightful three hander, performed by powerhouse actresses, turns on the idea that each woman is going about her daily activities until, at 2.16 pm, she experiences a transformation that utterly changes the world as she sees it, and, just as importantly, as the world sees her.
The small, intimate space at the Tristan Bates Theatre is precisely the right venue for Rachel Causer’s play. With a bare bones performance space that sketches an area bound by chairs on three sides, and two microphones at points of entry and exit, the audience is free to focus on the acting. And it’s the acting (ably directed by Kennedy Bloomer) which provides everything from portrayals of character to sound effects, lighting effects, props and music. This play is a manic tour de force performed by a hugely talented cast that is fifty five minutes or so of time well spent.
When It Happens begins quietly enough as we are introduced to Freya (Niamh Watson) who skitters on stage with some mysterious stains that look like blood on her white hoodie; Jenny (played by playwright Causer), in a work smart red blouse and a I-can-do-this grin, and Beth (Roisin Bevan), in a black shirt with a white towel draped over her shoulders. The towel turns out to have an important role to play as well. As each character begins to narrate her experience of what happens at 2.16 pm precisely, the other two swing into action as eager listeners but also supplying other characters as the stories proceed. Bevan is particularly good with her body language when called upon to portray the creepy male colleague that Jenny has to deal with, but it is a pleasure to watch all three at work.
The script itself is totally brilliant and confounds expectations. Each time that Causer introduces an overly familiar trope (for example, three women trapped in an anonymous dark space; three archetypes of women as virgin, madonna and whore) she transforms these into something utterly unexpected. The writing is by turns anarchic, explosive, but, by the end of the piece, empowering, and yes, fun. There are a wealth of memorable one liners that had the audience in stitches, and full of appreciative applause at the end of the show.
I strongly recommend that you book your ticket and rush to get your own theatrical epiphany while you still can.
Reviewed by Dominica Plummer
Photography by Lexi Clare
When it Happens
Tristan Bates Theatre until 3rd August as part of Camden Fringe 2019
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: