In my opinion, a really amazing theatrical experience is one part script, one part direction and three parts acting. Really good actors can make an ordinary script seem insightful, and mediocre acting can reduce an excellent play to tedium. If you have a marriage of the best of these three ingredients, the result is the magical theatrical experience we all seek.
Aliens is a beautiful play, well awarded by the American author Annie Baker. So well written is it that I would chase any of her plays from now on. It is set in the U.S and there are so many place names/American events mentioned throughout the play that it has to be performed with American accents. These accents were natural and flawless. The story centres on two troubled friends, both middle aged, who are coming to grips with life’s expectations and disappointments. The characters are nuanced and complex, and I was completely drawn into their world.
The set is excellent- the yard at the back of a cafe theoretically reserved for staff on breaks- including a dump bin for cafe rubbish. The two friends, K.J. and Jasper have commandeered this area to hang out. Little details such as tiny weeds growing between the cracks on the ground, and a painted wall featuring a tired ‘Coke’ advertisement enhance the theme. The direction is flawless in pace and movement so that the audience has time to linger on the dialogue.
The acting from the cast members is exceptional- Ben Wood, Jeremy Waters and the young James Bell. I have already mentioned Jeremy as a ‘must see’ actor who is always in great productions, and this play reinforced my view.He is always charismatic, even when he is down and out. The characters have been so carefully and tenderly brought to life by this trio, that being in the audience is a priceless experience. It is like eating at a three Michelin star restaurant, and only being expected to pay cafe prices. This play is a must see.