53two, Manchester – until 9 December. Reviewed by Marcus Richardson
Eight is a Play by Ella Hickson comprised up of eight character who give eight monologues. Each of which gives insight into what people’s lives are like, from Soldiers to teenage boys in France. But there is a catch the audience has to vote on whose story they hear and only 4 stories can be heard a night. As audience members we are not used to this power and as someone who can’t make their mind up it proved to be a way of torturing me as I didn’t get to see the whole body of the show. But then again will anyone, with it being different each night. Fun fact it could go through 40320 shows with each night being different.
Three of the characters I voted for were chosen and I felt sad that my 4th had to sit and watch, yes all the characters were on stage watching and waiting for their moment uncertain if they were going to be chosen. Only when a small light came on the character would they know their fate. First character Jude, one I voted for, a teenage boy sent to France by his father to become a man, played by Simon Hallman. The character falls in love and we are given this quirky way on how a seventeen deals with these urges. I’ve always found that actors can struggle playing the late teen years as teenagers tend to be very unique but Hallman gave this character life and a good flow. The second character was Miles. The other actor who stood out was Charlie Young who played the character of Bobby a Scottish mum who is struggling to make Christmas work. She controlled the room both with humour and with sorrow, she found that fine line between the two and struck the mother-load having this lasting crying one second and laughing the next. The whole cast (well half of the cast) all gave a stellar performance.
This is the second show that the Manchester Actors Platform have been involved in that I have seen as I was not let down by the cast and the company have gone in my good books giving current and relevant material that you enjoy watching and you take unfounded knowledge of social issues home, proving that contemporary material is engaging to watch.