The Minotaur Theatre Company is back at the UEA drama studio performing their first production of the semester – Love and Money by Dennis Kelly, under the direction of Martha Geelan. It was a few years ago when the UEA first experienced one of Dennis Kelly’s plays, but the intense, toxic atmosphere of his script is performed excellently by the Minotaur Theatre Company.
As the audience entered the drama studio they were faced with four men and women dressed in business suits, sitting like robots wearing their black shades. Techno, eerie business music played as the audience settled themselves ready to be immersed by the turbulent world of greed and desperation.
The play began with David (Charlie Field) facing the audience under a white spot light, reading his emails to and from a French woman who he hopes to engage in a romantic relationship. As the dates of the emails progress, the other three business people behind David, switch their chair positions; showing the constant and rigid changing of time. The scene is a powerfully concentrated moment where we almost see David find love, but as the act unravels, shocking realisations break through. Charlie Field presented the gathering awkward conversation with great depth as his underlying emotions begin to pierce into the scene.
The audience were then taken into a dark world of discovery as the play unfolds backwards to the moments that led to disturbing events where one realises love and money rarely come together.
The actors brought Dennis Kelly’s honest and raw script to life with their tremendous acting skills. A fantastic moment in the play was between Susie Martin and Josh Husselbee as the mother and father of the character Jess who recently died. The interaction between these two actors as parent’s striving to keep up appearances while fighting back their anger was a powerful performance. The balance of humour with such a dark, touching topic was dealt with perfectly. The parents constantly talk over each other, while hilariously engaging erratically with one another, created an extremely funny but bizarre scene.
The robotic dance sequences between some of the scenes created jarring dynamics especially when against the natural, organic character of Jess performed perfectly by Gemma Barnett. The sharp contrast between Jess, who could be anyone trying to discover her place and identity in a material world against the cooperate world of puppets, worked dramatically well.
The versatile ability of the actors to portray a range of characters was truly impressive, especially so by Lucy Attwell who managed to depict the snobbish eccentric character of Val who valued money above all to the innocent, subdued character, Debbie, trying to escape the mundane nature of her job.
Martha Geelan, the play’s director brought more than just Dennis Kelly’s play gloriously to life but forced the audience to abandon their comfort zone and question their values and beliefs about their own lives. This was a performance that raised important issues and concerns about our society, where the spiralling effect of money can destroy lives and relationships.
The Minotaur Theatre Company have brought Love and Money to the UEA with extraordinary artistic talent from all involved, which leads one to expect more great performances such as the upcoming Minotaur Shorts Festival starting on Thursday 6th Nov.