Blue-tile carpet squares, covering bare wooden boards – lit by a couple of neon-strip under lights, on which sat four swivel office chairs and, above these, a slanted ceiling of polystyrene tiles – with another spattering of harsh neon strips. This was the set that greeted audiences and remained throughout the play – the only moving parts (asides from the cast) were the aforementioned chairs which were wheeled and turned with each scene – an affective technique which I have only ever seen in the previous run of Vernon God Little at The Young Vic, many years ago.
The deconstructed set and nature of the play could easily create a performance that could be hard to get your head around but thanks to the clear direction from accomplished director Natalie Ibu, Sold took about one minute to settle in to.
The writing was clear, and intelligently emotional, with no attempts to be overly clever. Suzie Miller lives up to her award-winning name and demonstrates with subtlety her insight into people’s lives which is a joy to see performed and especially when it is done well, which it was.
503 continues to punch above its weight and bring us shows which are nothing short of fantastic showcases of British talent
Strong performances from all cast members, none of which outshone the other – together they provided a strong collective and gave us a wide spectrum of personalities which struggle in this dog-eat-dog world. Nothing came across as contrived, which can easily happen when trying to live such emotional stakes, in an in-your-face theatre space, with so many scene changes and precise blocking to be adhered to. Each were a testament to their profession and every one is worthy of greater things to come. A special mention really should go to Kellie Shirley playing Mandy, who, after coming in only four days before curtain-up, pulled her weight and clearly worked day and night to provide an a-class show – the audience were none the wiser.
The 503 continues to punch above its weight and bring us shows which are nothing short of fantastic showcases of British talent, both on and off stage. Sold is another name to be added to its existing portfolio of successes. This is one time you will enjoy sitting in the office.
Runs until 14th May 2011