By Flossie Waite
A Half Moon Production
Half Moon Theatre
Touring nationally until 15th November 2014
On the platform of Limehouse Station, waiting for the DLR after seeing Free, I thought about my feet. I felt the concrete bobbles of the platform, the vibrations of the train on the line. I was following Zara’s advice to Kris, as she trains him in freerunning: think about the different surfaces, try to read the city with your body.
Kris (Thomas Simper) and Zara (Katy Daghorn) meet on London’s rooftops and spend their nights free-running across the city, away from the past. Their minds and feet must keep moving as they struggle to confront the consequences of their actions.
David Lane’s dynamic writing has a dexterity that lets the words take flight, but in a play about such a physical topic, it would have been nice to have more movement. The set, made of wire mesh fencing and metal bars, reflects the increasingly claustrophobic world Kris and Zara occupy though the city is their playground. However, it restricts the performance space to just a strip of stage, and along with the poetry of the script and the stylized speech, Free sometimes feels like a spoken word performance rather than a piece of theatre.
Free flits from topic to topic, with the story moving around between fact and fiction. The backgrounds of each character, hinted at throughout, are directly addressed, but the writing style is as fast moving and tricky to catch as the runners; it’s hard to keep up with what has happened, where they are, what they want.
When the characters are allowed to stop and think and breathe, fleshing out their feelings, the acting is superb, particularly Simper’s monologue about his friend Sab, which is perfectly matched with electronic music from the show’s composer, Nick Tyson. I always want the characters to have this space, but I guess that’s sort of the point.
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