Tuesday, 11 August 2015

'The Invisible' Bush Theatre ***

Legal aid has been experiencing drastic cuts latterly and with many organisations being required to cease trading due to these cuts, where can people go to ask for legal advice without having to pay for such advice? The Bush Theatre’s production of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s freshly written play, ‘The Invisible’ shows this through a meticulous account on the basis of the topic with decent performances all round.

‘The Invisible’ is set in contemporary times where we are introduced to lawyer, Gail who is on a date with single dad, Ken who is currently fighting for visiting rights to his children and throughout the date, which Gail is loathing, she soon learns that the Ken has asked her for a date just to pursue free legal advice on how to win his custody case without a paid lawyer; this instigates the decay of free legal advice in Britain. We are soon taken to a newly married Pakistani couple, Aisha and Riz (Scott Karim) who are both coming to terms with married life; however, Aisha is concerned that Riz’s mother will become too controlling in terms of what she will be permitted to do.  At Gail’s legal aid organisation’s headquarters, Gail along with her secretary, Laura are increasingly worried by the cuts as the lease of their building is at risk of termination, so the two make an effort to keep their cases flowing. But over the course of the performance, one of Gail’s regulars, Shaun (Niall Buggy) asks for some help on an issue where he could be evicted from his flat due to the ill health of his dog, contrariwise Gail and Laura state that they cannot help him and that he should go somewhere else.  It is obvious that Gail appears unloved and when Laura’s boyfriend, Ryan (also Karim) comes into the office to see his girlfriend it seems that there’s some resentment to the fact that Laura and Ryan are flaunting their passion in her face as Gail’s dating experiences are ill fated. This is evident when Gail has a date with doctor, Andy (also Buggy) where he, like Ken has invited her on a date only to seek free legal advice.  Progressively, Aisha as she has been undergoing domestic violence from her husband, Riz and thankfully legal aid are able to prove her with security and a court trial in the hope that Riz will be sent to prison for attacking her physically, emotionally and mentally. Wretchedly, Gail receives bad news as she learns that her lease has now expired and that this cannot be appealed so Laura and herself now face unemployment and at the finale, Shaun who has lost everything makes a disconcerting suicide attempt as Gail did not help him in his desperate hour of need.  Lenkiewicz’s narrative is amenable as the concept of the play about the declining legal aid services was well presented; nonetheless, there is a lack of extensiveness with regards the amount of stories that is going on which makes it harder to really observe what is being conveyed. 

One found the performances by the company of, ‘The Invisible’ to be seriously well portrayed, but the transformations of characters did entail more refinement at periods.  Alexandra Gilbreath is first-rate as central protagonist, Gail; mainly how bothered her life is at this present time with the fact that her facility could be taken away from her and her courting life is non-existent too. Nicholas Bailey is acceptable as single dad, Ken; precisely how zealous he is at wanting to gain access to his children, on the other hand, the crying moments were extremely false and unrealistic and this is not very impressive. Sirine Saba is respectable as both Laura and Aisha; for example how flexible she conveys a legal secretary in a professional and stern manner and a woman who is combating with her husband in a vulgar fashion. 

Michael Oakley’s direction is delightful here as he has illustrated a production that could be perceived as controversial, yet the topic needs to be addressed to explain that the cuts could cause problems with those who are facing disputes such as Shaun and Aisha, but then again the characterisations could be improved. Ruth Sutcliffe’s design is attention-grabbling as the vastness and emptiness of the space conveys that the cuts in all aspects are forcing people to address what they can or cannot purchase on a regular basis, as such this is fantastic for a designer to accomplish this. Overall, the experience of, ‘The Invisible’ was a though-provoking performance about the dastardly cuts to the legal aid system.  

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