Election night 2015. The UK is either teetering on the edge of a new era of politics or destined for another five years of Tory leadership. The nation is divided by opinion. Open aims to delve into these different opinions and presents a cross-section of British society: the disenfranchised, the passionate, those who don’t care and those who fall in between.
Open packs as much into 50 minutes as they possibly can. They explore multi-culturalism, racism, terrorism, Islamophobia, freedom of speech, the homeless, the class divide… pretty much all the nuances of modern British society. These nuances are what meant that the 2015 election could go either way, and this is what Open builds from.
Even though we meet so many different characters, somehow it doesn’t seem rushed or overbearing. This is probably thanks to the simplistic structure. We see the various customers of your average chippy periodically sharing their thoughts – either directly to us, or in short conversations. If the subject matter was simplistic, this could get boring after a while, but with such engaging and varied topics, they hold our attention throughout.
Having said that, some elements do seem slightly unnecessary. We know they’re in a fish shop, so we don’t need to hear every single character order their usual and walk off with a polystyrene box. This appears to be the way Nottingham New Theatre have created a link between all their characters, but it can stunt the piece’s fluidity. However, it doesn’t detract too much, and for the most part we’re treated to engaging and compelling dialogue. Open is a visceral insight into the views of the electorate, and refreshing to see such a young cast produce such quality work.
Open is playing at ZOO (venue 124) August 24, 26, and 28. For more information, visit the Fringe website.