Ok, Bye at The Vaults is packed with emotions. With a focus on goodbyes, Red Belly Black Theatre Company explore a narrative about the loss of a mother, tangled with interviews from their friends and families about other types of goodbyes in life. Using movement, voice over, lights and music, they tell the story of farewells.
The main idea behind the show might have been goodbye, but it developed into a beautiful piece about siblings and how they had to grow stronger when they experienced loss. This idea is strong and originally enough to have kept that as the main focus, and integrated the other aspects as smaller parts. Instead it all became a bit tangled together and messy, with too many rushed transitions, as they forced the interviews to play a bigger part.
As half of the show is the siblings narrative of their mother’s death, the relevance of the stories from the interviews about other goodbyes was difficult to pinpoint. It seems overly ambitious to include those, for an hour long show. Those stories main purpose seemed to be humour – which they excelled at, but keeping it a bit more to the point would have been beneficial.
A show with so many aspects requires a lot of focus and great acting skills, the latter of which it certainly had – Sam Cornforth’s presence on stage was incredibly natural and overpowering. The cast’s comedic timing and Vicki Baron’s Writing added the humour that was needed for a piece with such a sad and serious topic.
Some of the movement based sequences were beautifully thought through and executed, but some felt unnecessary, unpolished, and not precise enough. Overall the sequences were beneficial to the production, both in terms of humour and the overall quality of the play.
With an extended running time, there could definitely be an expansion of some of the ideas, which would make the production less messy and more focused. Regardless, it is still a show worth seeing for a great laugh and great acting.
You can see Ok, Bye at The Vaults festival until March 11th.
Images: Robert Boulton