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Review: THE INTERVIEW, The Bread & Roses Theatre

A promising debut show that kick-starts a conversation but needs more tinkering.

Review: THE INTERVIEW, The Bread & Roses Theatre

Review: THE INTERVIEW, The Bread & Roses Theatre "My filter goes when I'm nervous!" That's how we meet Jane Sinclair. The scenario is simple and normal: the 23-year-old young woman is being interviewed for a job. The cold and professionally detached poise of her potential new manager clashes with Jane's tendency to over-share, but this only seems to amuse him. He slowly warms to her potty mouth and all of a sudden things take a turn for the worst.

What happens when a woman is cornered and abused by someone in power? How does a human react to an extreme situation? All it takes to answer those questions is an extremely unethical and traumatising social experiment. Joshua David Bartholomew's debut play The Interview is strong at its core and written by the book. Perhaps a bit too much.

The beats are relentless and the plot-twist happens right at the half-hour mark, but the piece feels heavy. The writing might be excessively literary mostly, but the one-liners are entertaining. The problem is, nobody really talks like that. The devilishly witty sit-com humour combined with often improbable dialogue weight down the good bits of the show, stiffening the script.

Sean Carbert directs Bartholomew himself and Katie-Emma Silverson focusing on the essence of the story rather than distracting the public with visual elements. The result is a production entirely focused on meaning and perception. The actors gravitate around each other only metaphorically, favouring stillness and intellectual confrontation.

Where Silverson is bubbly and extroverted, Bartholomew is icy and aloof. He exudes authority while she treads her colourful resumé for his own pleasure. When the climax hits and Robert shows his vicious hand, the writing harshens and becomes too textbook-ish to sound natural.

Her lines become feminist slogans while the little sympathy he'd built in their previous conversations shatters. The façade falls and Robert's true agenda and cold-heartedness is revealed. What he rationalises as a necessary study to understand how women act in the face of the cruelty of people in power turns out to be violence in itself.

The picture Bartholomew paints is a thought-provoking one that can certainly be improved to make more of a statement. It can be trimmed and the dialogues can definitely flow more realistically, but it isn't a bad start.

By the end, our faith in humanity will be tested dramatically as it is, but he could take it one step further and turn the plot against those who are watching it. If his Robert isn't the leader of the trial, someone else is, so why not make it those sitting in the room. A short address to the audience would be enough to twist it upside down and kick-starting a conversation.

The show is promising. Bartholomew is a quick-witted writer and an equally charming actor. The Interview can go far, it just needs some more tinkering.

The Interview runs at The Bread & Roses Theatre until 31 July.

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From This Author - Cindy Marcolina

Italian export. Member of the Critics' Circle (Drama). Also a script reader and huge supporter of new work. Twitter: @Cindy_Marcolina

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