3.5 ⭐ · Fringe Reviews 2015 · Reviews · Theatre Reviews

REVIEW: ‘Tension Square’ by Chameleon Productions

3 and half star

I was forewarned by a friend that ‘Tension Square’ might be a bit of tough ride, emotionally. They were proved right.

It’s certainly moving and doesn’t shy away from stark and bleak territory at times, while still maintain a light-hearted air at times which entirely fits with the attitude and philosophy of the central character towards her situation. It manages to be high-depressing, and somehow rather uplifting at the same time. An achievement I think and so many congratulations to Sue Fowkes on the script and the cast for bringing it to life.

Speaking of Sue Fowkes, her memorable turn as DeeDee, stealing every scene she ambled into, remains one of my favourite things about the show, and provided some often much-needed relief from the play’s gloomier stretches. Aimee Kember, as Marigold, handled her role as the foundation-stone of the piece impeccably. Her character is one easy for an audience to empathise with, and so investing said audience in the plot becomes all the easier with Kember at the helm.

It’s a good story, with intriguing characters, and touches on some important issues. Female-on-male domestic abuse was one I was particularly glad to see highlighted as it too often gets overlooked or dismissed in mainstream media. The final scenes, however, dragged. I’m sad to say that the quality deteriorated noticeably as the play attempted to wind up its loose ends to a satisfying conclusion. Some of it felt sudden, other parts painfully drawn out. The ending disappointed me, given how engrossing it had been previously. The performances from all concerned remained on point to the last but something about the script lost its spark. Apparently it is intended to be a longer play in its full form so maybe there are elements missing that would’ve solved my issues with it. Who can say?

I don’t regret seeing the show in the slightest, and aside from my dissatisfaction with the end, it made for enjoyable and thought-provoking viewing. It talks about things that people often avoid talking about and talks about them well. For that it should be commended.

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