Cadets is a captivating solo play where Gabbi takes you on the journey of what it is really like to be in the cadets. Written and performed by Dani Kolanis at Camden Peoples Theatre as part of The Big Bang, Cadets is an explosion of various work in progress performances and it is the place to see wild & wonderful new projects take their first steps. As an audience member, you are encouraged to write down feedback for the development of each piece.

Gabbi is forced to join the police cadets thinking it will be like the film Police Academy. She goes on a cadet’s annual camp in Essex, which is in the middle of nowhere and is a world apart from the borough of Camden. It is here she meets all the other cadet boroughs that she and her borough despise. Kolanis takes us on the journey of all the drama that takes place on the trip, from Malibu & JD, drill, what it’s like to go camping and the fear of the officer.

Kolanis goes for it and doesn’t stop! Using physicality and impersonation to represent the different characters throughout, you’ll laugh out loud and cringe at the awkwardness. I particular enjoyed Gabbi’s opinions on all the other boroughs; the character is straight up and does not mince her words. Kolanis’ use of imagination really gives you the picture of where the action takes place. She believes where she is so we believe it too. Kolanis is a great storyteller, adding in dramatic pauses and variation of expressions. Her energy is upbeat and the end left me wanting more.

The stage is completely stripped back with only Kolanis taking up the space, no props or set apart from a chair, which is used in multiple ways to set the scenes. It doesn’t need much more. Lighting is simple and sound only used to play songs for effect. This is the kind of play that can be put on pretty much anywhere, as it is minimal with the performer doing all the work.

The show is about 25 minutes in total so this play has a lot of potential to grow into something bigger. As it is a one-off scratch performance you won’t catch this particular version again. However I would definitely say Kolanis is one to keep an eye out for. You can follow her on Twitter @DaniKolanis for updates about the show. I’m sure Cadets will be back and I can’t wait to see where Kolanis takes it.

Cadets played at the Camden People’s Theatre on 11 June. It is written and performed by Dani Kolanis, for updates on upcoming productions, follow her on twitter @DaniKolanis

Photo: Camden People’s Theatre website