Written Off Theatre’s debut production of Careless is a patchwork of hilarious one-liners and questionable plotlines. Written and performed by Eva Tritschler and Emma François, they play two young professionals, Bryony and Sam, who hope to have a party. However, when Sam confesses to killing the new girl at work their plans and friendship are tested with this twisted dilemma.
Both Tritschler and François bring bags of infectious energy to the performance, as they start with a slick dance routine which they carry throughout the show. Tritschler (Bryony) plays a self-righteous, struggling ex-drama student who is constantly playing to her stereotype. Her recurrent attempts at completing her self-tape for TRESemmé are lathered with the pretentiously hysterical one-liners one would imagine from such a character. On the other hand, François (Sam) plays a carer who often fires off quick anecdotes about her elderly patients. Some of them are disgustingly comical, and yet also mercilessly melancholic.
However, the connection between these two characters does not translate throughout the piece, as the frequent slip of dialogue, pacing and timing sadly hinders these fabulous characters. At times, I am not sure if the show is entirely improvised, which I later learn is not the case.
Although their initial comedic timing is spot on in creating a wave of laughs from the audience, this then begins to diminish into confusion. Perhaps it is the repetitive dialogue of whether or not to call the police and retrieve limes for the G&T’s that causes the otherwise bright writing to spiral downwards. This continues as the change of time structure from scene to scene becomes blurred. For example, the final scene at six in the morning after a mad party has the same tone and content as the beginning and previous scenes.
Moreover, this issue is also embedded within the writing itself, as the light-hearted introduction of these characters and their party is perhaps stretched to its limit (that is, until the swift change of mood during the killing confession and the final soundscape of the policeman at the door shakes up the performance, but falls past any element of surprise). Amongst the confetti streamers and sassy flared outfits there sits great potential in this production. With relatable references and experiences shared by both characters, their comedic awareness is made clear by the bellowing laughter from the audience. Despite this, the play’s overall structure and flow could use some rethinking to then elevate it from a collection of one-liners to a well-rounded emotional production.
Careless is playing at Lion & Unicorn Theatre until 17th of August 2021. For more information and tickets, see: What’s On — LION & UNICORN THEATRE .