On Tuesday night I had the absolute pleasure of watching the debut of new play ‘Knock’ by Megan Jenkins at the Drayton Arms Theatre Pub. The show is performed by Original Impact Theatre, a company that is going from strength to strength.
Original Impact Theatre’s shows are performed, directed, written and produced by the company themselves. At the helm of the company is Artistic Director Alexandria Anfield. I have been friends with Alex since we met in 2010 and trained together at the University of Cumbria. Alex has always been a determined, talented and driven individual so it’s no surprise that she is producing her own work with her own company. New show ‘Knock’ is directed by Alex and her sister Katie Turner.
The show is written by the hugely talented Megan Jenkins. She is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Megan writes in such a fluid, intelligent and provoking way. Her writing is always slightly controversial as it tackles themes that need to be (and should be) addressed in the modern world. Another recent work of hers, ‘Gone’, recently premiered in late August with Original Impact Theatre at The Lion and the Unicorn, London. Again, another show (which regretfully I was unable to see) which tackles the challenging subject of missing children.
Initially ‘Knock’ was presented at a scratch night held by Original Impact a few months back. Originally titled ‘Knock, Knock’ it was highly received and it was clear that the audience were left wanting more. Months later, here we are watching the finished piece with a brand new fresh cast for the company.
I don’t want to give too much away or ruin the story in advance, so I won’t be discussing much of the plot. It just give you an incentive to go and watch it instead! (Be that now, or the next time it’s on!)
Amy Kitts plays the role of recent graduate Dinah, Will de Coverly as Ben and Natasha Culzac as Director Jude. The show focuses on the three characters who are currently in rehearsal for a play, which (within the show) is based on a very disturbing and unsettling true story. The actors work very well together throughout the show and all bring a different energy to the story. Culzac performs in a very engaging and naturalistic way, which really reflects the age gap of her character to that of young graduate, Dinah. Culzac moves around the stage effortlessly and is a great casting for this role. Kitts really enforces the eager nature of young graduate Dinah. She portrays the role in exactly the way you would expect a young drama graduate to be: willing and ready to take on the world. She is highly enjoyable to watch and extremely expressive which for me, works incredibly well. de Coverly plays the role of Ben, husband of Jude. It’s very clear from the outset that Ben feels emasculated by his successful wife. de Coverly really provides a conflicted character who is trying to remain professional, yet struggles with his flop of a career. He portrays Ben as, not your typical “manly man”, so to speak, which works incredibly well because it really enforces who wears the trousers in Ben and Jude’s relationship.
What I really loved about the casting was not only was the woman more successful than the man (which is rare to see) but Culzac is slightly taller than de Coverly. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it’s nice to see a casting that doesn’t have to be conventionally strict.
Throughout the show, watching the characters flick from the “actual script” to “the script they are rehearsing within the show” is highly engaging and Megan Jenkins’ writing of essentially two stories in one, is extremely intelligent.
The show space itself worked really well for the piece. Being in a smaller space kept it intimate which aided creating a tense atmosphere for the more chilling parts of the story. ‘Knock’ had a nice contrast of funny yet jumpy moments and if it was intentional to really hit that scare factor level, it needed something a little extra for that. What that is however, I can’t quite put my finger on.
There were a few lost lines within the show that were just a little too quiet. Saying that, 95% of the show was clear and concise, because, let’s face it, no one wants to miss out on any dialogue! The end of the show, I feel, could have been much stronger. I have a feeling that due to opening night nerves and initial adrenaline the actors’ energy was starting to lull, especially knowing that they were nearly at the finish line. All we needed was a strong ending for it to really go off with a bang. There was also a very short blackout which didn’t particularly help the situation.
At the end of the show, I was feeling like it could have carried on further. To me, that could have been act 1 and we could have only just hit the interval. I guess that shows that it has been left open to interpretation and that I definitely wanted even more!
All in all, ‘Knock’ is a fabulous show, with an equally marvelous cast. Alex and Katie did a wonderful job of directing and the overall show was very effective. It’s on tonight and tomorrow only so if you read this and manage to get last minute tickets then wonderful! (Although you will be pushing it for tonight!) Don’t dismay though, Original Impact Theatre have more and more work coming. They are definitely a company to keep your eye on, so make sure you check out their future projects!
To buy any last minute tickets for ‘Knock’ for tomorrow click here.