As I entered the stage space, I was kindly greeted by a middle-aged woman, dressed from head to toe in grand white Spanish clothing, to whom I said “Are you an actress?” She replied, “You’ll see,” and recommended that I took a seat in the front row. I did, and waited for the rest of the audience to take their seats whilst noticing the beautifully constructed set, made of simple white material and metal rope shapes, hanging fans, a life size frame and a translucent screen, including different levels.
The show started with the afore mentioned woman questioning the (shockingly scarce) audience about the emotions linked with ‘Birthdays’. After a slow start, most of the audience chipped in with their opinions, much to the joy of the actress. I quickly discovered that the show was a one-woman performance but with the amount of skill Georgina Roberts has, more performers would have hindered the performance.
A great variety of characters were played by Roberts, each more inspiring than the last. One particular character that stood out for me was the ‘Infanta’ herself, for the pure look of innocence Roberts gave her. Another character I can’t go without mentioning is the ‘ugly boy’, who was portrayed in a variety of different forms, including Roberts wearing a mask and a little puppet made of metal.
The performance included a lot of symbolism, whether it was a head height tightrope, stretched down or flowers made from fans, I couldn’t have asked for more interesting interpretations.
One of the elements of theatre that is especially hard to perfect is audience participation. I am glad to say Roberts did a magnificent job of including the audience throughout, and I very much enjoyed presenting the Infanta with a white rose, after being chosen from the audience. Something else that is hard to keep the audience engaged with is language; especially foreign languages, which Roberts seamlessly slid into the script without a single blip.
Since you’ve missed the awesome opportunity to experience Trestle Unmasked in Salisbury, I suggest you shuffle on down to Bath, where the show is travelling next. Grab a ticket while you can and prepare yourself for a performance like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
This review was written by Megs Slark and brought to you by The Unit’s Young Reviewers Club, supporting young people to get access to a range of gigs and cultural events and activities in and around Salisbury. For more information on The Unit, see their website here.