Review: ★★★★ The Dark Room, Theatre 503

Theatre503 is a cute theatre in Battersea which focuses on new work. Australian The Dark Room by Angela Betzien, focusses on social issues and mostly how they affect our personal problems and relationships. Directed by Audrey Sheffield, an amazing director with a keen focus on new plays, this is a show you don’t want to miss.

The theatre was wonderful and intimate and it made the audience feel very connected to the actors. Especially social worker Anni, played by Katy Brittain was incredible, such a natural performer which she’s previously shown in fantastic London theatres, such as the National Theatre. All of the actors were great though and had great chemistry on stage.

The most impressive thing about the show was the ability to have several stories going on at stage at once, and the fact that they weren’t distracting to one another, especially in such a small theatre. It was even more beautifully tied together with matching dialogue overlapping each other, tying together the different stories. That being said, the time line of the show was confusing and although some of it did get cleared up towards the end, it was definitely an aspect that took focus away from the amazing story.

The play is a thriller about larger social issues and on the effect it has on people’s personal lives. There is a focus on mental illness, which explained the change in genre that sometimes happened on stage, which could be distracting, but actually tied well together with the issues at hand. It is an extremely relevant play, which perhaps might be even more relevant to Australians. ‘Unfortunately’ the conflicts hit home in most parts of the world right now, in terms of social justice or lack thereof.

A well accomplished way of telling several stories at once on a limited stage, The Dark Room is the kind of play the world needs to tell personal stories that comments on some of the bigger issues that society is facing. With amazing actors and an even greater director, it’s a piece with a lot of potential to inspire other art lovers to use theatre as a method to innovate the way we perceive the world.

The Dark Room runs till 2nd of December at Theatre503.

Reviewed by Yasmin Simsek

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