Peepshow is an odd show that mixes the traditional theatre with the expressive dance one would expect of a dance company to use to tell the emotions of their characters. This is not to say that the mixture of the two does not work, in fact it is the exact opposite, it works beautifully, writes Joshua King.
Mark Dakin and Jodie Affleck to their credit direct their cast who would not have, like the majority of the audience, been used to the mixture of traditional theatre with expressive dance. It is to their credit that during the play even when the focus shifts to another part of the building you still have to be aware of what is happening on part of the stage, it constantly makes the audience feel as though they are peering into the lives of these people and that it is not something that is staged.
It would be easy to talk at length about the play and its reflection of society, and how in modern day society it is very easy to feel lonely and wanting for something more in your life. The plot of Peepshow is negligible but that is the point, as life has no plot and has no overarching story. Life moves from moment to moment, and this sense in a relationship is captured brilliant by the play. The chemistry between the couples is what makes it worth watching as they make their relationships pop and sparkle.
The destructive nature of relationships is reflected in the case of George and Ben, played by Ophelia Xerri and Tim Gilbert respectively. Tim exudes the exhaustion of a man at the end of his tether with his unhappy, alcoholic girlfriend played by Ophelia. Ophelia revels in the role she is given here, showing great range throughout her performance. The chemistry between the two of them is brilliant to the point that you fully believe this couple have been together for years and have reached a point of no return in their relationship.
Dom Padfield is excellent as the desperate market dealer Richard trying to make good on his outlandish claims to his girlfriend Shanon, played by Bethan Leyshon. Bethan plays a mother who is beaten down by her life and longing for a new one away from her boyfriend who she no longer loves. Bethan in her sheer presence on stage and the way she carries herself makes us see the pain her character feels everyday and the longing for a new life and love she feels. Dom is the opposite, he is assured in the Jack the Lad archetype he is given yet he is able to add an extra layer to this character and make his struggle for success and to provide for his family as poignant as Arthur Millar’s Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.
Liam Mayle excels in the role of the Loner. He commands your attention when he is dancing and is able to maintain your attention when it is just him by himself. He is very assured in his prescience on stage and makes the character of the Loner, who could have been somewhat creepy and outlandish, the anguished heart of the play who seeking for acceptance company and love.
Ruthie Oldman as Sarah brings a realistic wanting and longing to her character’s love for her flatmate Kate as played by Nicky Jefford. The chemistry between the two of them is believable and fun, yet as the wine flows during the course of the play we see Ruthie’s character’s true desire and her loneliness creep out and we as the audience feel her pain at not being able to have what she wants. Nicky Jefford is well cast as the middle class princess trying to be something she is not and is very much in her comfort zone in this play. She is a great balance to Ruthie’s more passionate and longing character.
The performance offers a beautifully crafted mix-match of styles that Shoreline have executed with precision.