In a basement cafe in the heart of the Northern Quarter, A Grey Divide provides an intimate, comfy and friendly start. The play, directed by John-Mark Reid, follows duo Anna-Maria and Jason who meet in the cafe and find they have a mutual connection leading to much more than just a coffee and a chat. The realistic setting of the cafe brings the spectators together and as we take our seats on chairs, sofas and stools we immediately become part of the action.
Although the acting space works well for the initial opening, it soon becomes distracting. The general noise of the cafe itself under-tones the entire play, with fridges and drinks machines buzzing throughout and the business phone ringing during intimate scenes, taking us away from the action. The lighting is harsh and doesn't compliment the intimate moments within the piece.
It is naturalistic in acting style but lacks pace and dynamism, often feeling slow and awkward. The character objectives are not clear, and this is evident in the acting throughout. It feels all one level with the occasional outburst that does not lead anywhere and often motif's are overused, becoming repetitive. A Grey Divide excels in exploring new ways of putting on a play in a naturalistic setting, pushing the expected norm for the spectator. Unfortunately the unpolished performance does not make an impact. - Rebecca Phillipson