EMPTY: Jouvan Fucinni
futuretheatre at Blue Orange, Birmingham
19 – 21 January 2012
Half a loaf may be better than no bread, but I’d have preferred a whole loaf.I’ve not reviewed half a play before; but that’s what I got when I went to see EMPTY presented by futuretheatre.
It’s a lively enough piece. Craig is a DJ – full of the joys of spring and full of himself. He shares a flat with Jaxon – he’s stuck in a dead end job and, during the action of this first half, is made redundant. Both lads find apparent freedom in a long binge of drugs and drink, during which Craig splits from his girl-friend Kelly. Jaxon has a fling with her, but falls for business-woman Jessica. Where’s this all going to end? Well, we don’t know of course, since we don’t have the second half.
Jouvan Fucinni has succeeded in writing a first half that makes us want to know what happens in the second half. The play also has, at times, a great energy about it, which is both infectious and attractive. This is, as yet, a work in development; Fucinni, in developing this work, needs to dig deeper into the areas the play investigates (for instance employment legislation.) And some of the characters lack depth, too, especially Craig (the DJ) and Jessica (the business-woman.)
Two thoughtful performances from Husinaa Nembhard (Jessica) and Daniel Anderson (Jaxon) dangle the play’s potential in front of us.
The whole is directed with integrity by Steven Luckie.
While the idea of presenting a work in progress is most valuable, I wonder at the wisdom of presenting half a play, though. Couldn’t the writer get round to finishing it on time?
Kelly: Rachel Da-Iahay
Jaxon: Daniel Anderson
Craig:: Toyin Oman-Kinch
Jessica: Husinaa Nembhard
Director: Steven Luckie
Lighting: Colin Ward
Dramaturgy: Ola Animashawun