Written and performed by the adorably quirky Disa Andersen, Is This Thing On? bravely prompts the candid conversation of domestic abuse and how this effects the emotional development of young women. The piece begins with a nervous energy which bleeds into the performance through tense movements, although Andersen relaxes into the storytelling and speaks the text in a poetic and whimsical tone. Joshua Stretton does a brilliant job at giving Jack fully rounded characterisation, and is able to brilliantly play both the heartthrob and the abuser. The performers use repetitive movement motifs to show the progression of emotions, particularly our protagonist Joanna's. At one point Jack is physically moving Joanna's body throughout the space and we strongly feel his sense of control over her.
Alice, played by Julie Vaapenstand Holm, is Joanna’s slightly edgier and more carefree friend. Vaapenstand Holm's voice has a lovely low quality to it, and she feels most natural within the comedic moments. A particular favourite line of hers is “fuck men! And then fuck other men...”, as it lightheartedly comments on the constant battle of trying to navigate the realm of relationships as a young woman. Andersen's writing speaks with passion, providing a well rounded insight into how it can feel to be in a toxic relationship. The piece feels in its early stages, and that's not a bad thing. With a little more oomph to the movement and polish to the costumes, the play could progress into a relevant and resonant piece of theatre.
Written by @_FayeButler