82 Views

Sussex students reinvigorate dystopic classic

With the words ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘disaffected’ in the synopsis, I arrived for the performance of Have I None expecting yet another Danny-Boyle-pre-’Slumdog’-esque doomy social commentary offering no glimpse of human salvation. When I entered the intimate venue to find Sussex graduate Laura Corbett already seated onstage amidst the sound of gunfire, I thought my suspicions had been confirmed.

But what ensued, happily, combined humour, poignancy and welcome moments of warmth in a performance that took a refreshingly unexpected slant on that much-abused genre of dystopic fiction.

The characters interact in a single scene: a sparse room which we learn is the living area of Sarah (Corbett) and her partner, played by Max O’Donoghue. Their frugal existence, we discover, owes to a national backlash against mass-consumerism which has resulted in a ban on luxury items and emotional displays.

Recalling the past, O’Donoghue remembers how it became ‘a hobby’ for people to buy expensive cars simply to crash them into walls. He goes on to explain how people once had everything they wanted, and it was only logical that they would go on to beg for it to be taken away. It’s a jarring vision given the current financial crisis, and though the play was conceived less than a decade ago by playwright Edward Bond, O’Donoghue’s wistfulness seems all the more real when our own near future is inevitably considered.

Fortunately the captivating performance quickly curtailed excessive navel-gazing, sustaining a light-hearted atmosphere in the audience throughout. In fact, the audience seemed determined to laugh even at the script’s blackest and most ambiguous points. Unequivocal comedy was delivered regularly and naturally, however, by the three actors (completed by current Sussex student Chris Harrison, who plays Sarah’s brother) whose seamless slapstick sequences couldn’t fail to raise a smile.

What struck me particularly was the seemingly confused intention of the play: after an extended, tense opening where Sarah sits in apparent fear while an unseen visitor knocks with growing violence on the door, the gags seem incongruous. But this is in no way a criticism of the performance – I was unsettled by these flighty shifts from grim to funny and I suspect that was the point.

A highlight of the play was reached when Sarah shares a moment of intimacy with her brother. Director Aine King translates Bond’s emotionless dystopia by banning eye contact between characters, so the juxtaposition achieved here between Corbett and Harrison’s authentic interaction and the rest of the play is especially touching.

While O’Donoghue is never afforded a situation in which to showcase any sense of sentimentality, all three actors demonstrated an impressive plasticity of talent, swooping effortlessly between extremes of emotion with a confidence that will secure them each a bright future.

At only forty-five minutes the play was accessible and direct. In spite of the tragic ending, I left the Three and Ten optimistic and entertained, thanks to a combination of the inspiring, enthusiastic cast, and the prevalence of warmth and humour that emanated from the bleak setting of the play into the theatre itself.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
509 views1
Campus News
509 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
51 views
Arts
51 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
94 views
Arts
94 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
93 views
Arts
93 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
116 views
Arts
116 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
137 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
150 views
Arts
150 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
141 views
Arts
141 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
228 views
Campus News
228 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
107 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
211 views
Arts
211 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
140 views
Arts
140 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
212 views
Artist Focus
212 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
146 views
Interview
146 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
215 views
Arts
215 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
238 views
Arts
238 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
276 views
Arts
276 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
191 views
Artist Focus
191 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
200 views
Books
200 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
255 views
Science
255 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
265 views
News
265 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…