Written by Katy Darby Directed by David Weinberg
Cast: Heather Cairns, Vanessa Mallinson, James McNeill, Penelope Peters, Jack Roth
A homeless girl is found passed out on the tube. That’s not news. But a girl who’s mute, starving and hasn’t seen sunlight in years? That’s worth looking into - or so investigative reporter Andy decides. Unable, or willing to communicate, nameless and speechless , ‘Olympia’ becomes a blank canvas onto which the people around her project their fantasies and fears. Andy and policewoman Sam Medcalf join forces in a race against time to discover who she is and where she’s come from. Is she a teenage runaway, an underground refugee, an amnesiac, a feral child, or something sadder and stranger still?

Written by Anna Jordon Directed by Alison king
Cast: Clareine Cronin, Jack Barry Gavin, Beth Packer, Matthew Thornton-Field
The sixteenth floor of standard house E10. Vincent and Victoria live next to Tanya and Gav. Vincent is an anxious man who doesn’t go out. Victoria is pushed to the limit, and faces a daily riot at school. Tanya is a first time mum who is finding it hard to get by. And Gav likes a drink, hates the Poles, and feels a little lost. The problem with Standard House is that noise travels - big time! Passionate rows are overheard, private conversations are eavesdropped on, and rash conclusions are drawn. The tension rises, especially when the lifts are out. Who needs Eastenders when the walls are paper thin?

Review of Olympia/Paper Thin "Double bill of great writing!" by Caroline Boulton for remotegoat

This double bill at Barons Court presented by First Draft Theatre Company starts off with Olympia by Katy Darby and Directed by David Weinberg. Olympia tells the urban tale of a homeless immigrant found unconscious on the tube late one night. She doesn't speak, is malnourished and hasn't seen daylight for years. Her story soon captures the imagination of hack reporter Andy Higgs ready and willing to exploit her. He endlessly interviews the terrified girl to discover her hidden past and she slowly begins to unveil herself to him but is much more intelligent then she seems and soon gives him the slip.
With a cast of 6 this production developed well and followed a steady pace. A character full performance from Jack Roth kept me really interested and it was a great cynical view of modern media culture but I would love to see this developed further and the text worked it which I felt was a little unambitious and let down the actors who could clearly handle more.

The second play of this double bill was Paper Thin. Written by Anna Jordan and directed by Alison King this was fantastically staged with the best use of the limited space at Barons Court I've ever seen at this venue. The claustrophobic theme of this production suited it perfectly. Centred around two conflicted couples stuck on the 16th floor of a tower block with a frequently broken lift, this play demonstrates perfectly the simmering tensions of claustrophobic council housing. Each scene overlapped through the paper-thin walls of the flats so after hearing half a conversation through the wall we then moved next door to fill in the blanks of what we missed. This created a wonderful dramatic effect of waiting for the lines half already heard to be said in the next scene.
The cast of four were all superb, with fantastic staging, a simple but effective set and this great use of eaves dropping all come together to create a highly effective production which I thoroughly enjoyed and would easily watch again.

PAPER THIN will be being performed at the Tabard Theatre as part of the Lost One Act Play Festival on 9th April

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