The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield – until 19th May 2018.
Reviewed by Sophie Dodworth
This is theatre with a difference and that is that Ramps On The Moon Company think that nobody should ever feel different and that everybody should be able to access and understand theatre, no matter what your disability. What a great notion? Ramps On The Moon was launched in 2016, producing touring shows which integrates D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled performers and creative team members. This and each of their productions includes creative use of audio description and integrated British Sign Language. Normally you would expect to see a sign language interpreter at the side of the stage, but what is special about this performance, is that the actors on stage take it in turns to interpret one another, depending on their placing and individual lines.
The play is set in an 18th century Australian prison colony. It follows the story of a group of convicts from start to finish as they put on the play; The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar. British Officer Ralph Clark played by Tim Pritchett makes the effort of trying to convince his colleagues to allow convicts to put on a play. We are invited into rehearsals for the play and as time goes on, we see each of the convicts grow in confidence and in to their characters. There are some real funny moments while witnessing the groups progression.
This play is full to the brim of content and talented cast members. Each one a true individual, portraying their characters with passion and flair, thus creating believable personalities. The ensemble are key to the success of this version of the show. Tom Dawse plays a fantastic Wisehammer, very charismatic on the stage. Fifi Garfield plays a sassy and strong Dabby Bryant. Gbemisola Ikumelo plays an impactful and abrupt Liz Morden, quite captivating when on the stage. Sapphire Joy plays Mary Brenham well and respectfully while speaking for Ducking, played by Emily Rose Salter. Alex Nowak plays a strong and passionate Sideway, often having some of the best comedy moments.
This play is not just a play about convicts being imprisoned but also about being constrained by the social order, the way we think about other people and the way we see ourselves. Our Country’s Good is primarily about how important it is to see everybody as an individual and understanding who they are. This production will make you think deeply whilst watching and also afterwards, as the theme of equality and fairness of the human nature resonates in your mind.
A really interesting watch, you get to see an impeccably performed piece of theatre, whist being able to active the grey cells and consider all the underlying moral tones of the show.