Review: Snapshot, The Hope Theatre

Written by George Johnston, Snapshot is somewhat of a modern-day love story. Plagued by social media, internships, and rising rent costs, it follows James (Brian Martin) and Daniel (Joey Akubeze), and their tumultuous relationship.

Daniel was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and has since enjoyed the opportunities given to him, including his Oxford education and broker position at Goldman Sachs. James, his polar opposite, is a struggling photographer from Northern Ireland. Despite their obvious class divide, the pair are together. James, like a 1940s housewife, eventually becomes restless at home whilst Daniel goes out and earns. When he is propositioned by older, wealthy, and closeted Frank (Bruce Kitchener) and begins a sexual relationship in exchange for favours in the art world, James and Daniels relationship takes a turn for the worst. Add ex-girlfriend Olivia (Zoe Labrakis), who can’t seem to let James go, to the mix and disaster ensues.

Directed by James McAndrew, the piece is divided into short scenes, keeping in with the photography theme – each scene being a little ‘snapshot’. Useful for keeping the pace up, although the constant flitting between past and present made it hard to determine just where we were, and the repetition of lines, often jokes, to demonstrate we were back to a certain moment in time made them tiresome. The play is performed on a simple set designed by Fiona Rigler – a fancy velvet sofa in front of a huge print of Battersea Power Station emulates Daniel’s upmarket Pimlico flat.

Martin is charismatic and charming as James, and has an endearing laddish quality about him. He conveys James’ confusion excellently and is the only one in the piece we truly empathise with. Akubeze as Daniel is better in heated moments, while those of sincerity and tenderness are less believable. He portrays ultra-efficient well, and shines in his moments as not much more than a well-spoken businessman. Some dialogue went unheard due to the cast occasionally shouting over one another, but the writing was mostly observant and witty in places.

Snapshot attempts to tackle the issues that can arise when navigating a relationship in 2017. It highlights more than ever the divide that can occur in certain lifestyles, and the struggle that can come when trying to make them work. Snapshot also included some succinct observations – for example the patronising director known as ‘Paul the Bastard’ that isn’t uncommon in the theatre world, and the pretentiousness of a play mentioned by Liv – an adaptation of Pericles at The Young Vic set in Aleppo.

Ultimately, while there were scenes that felt unnecessary, perhaps even a little trite, the intention of the piece was clear, whether it achieved it or not? I’m not so sure.

Snapshot is playing at The Hope Theatre until 10 June.

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