Camden Fringe 2019
This production of Kennedy Fin’s ‘Fast’ intents to mirror the amazing work young people have been doing recently with Extinction Rebellion and climate strikes. As well as show that young voices are key, and people should listen to them.
‘Fast’ is about the life of a young student (Cara) whose life is ripped apart by the big supermarkets and the fast-food industry. After her class participates in a 24-hour charity fast, she decides to go on a hunger strike to force her community to listen to her and take action.
The production is well-staged with minimal set, allowing the young actors to work as an ensemble in order to create the world of the play. The direction, by Felix Connolly and Ashen Gupta, is very imaginative and really ties the piece together with some excellent choreography. The transitions are particularly strong and the moment when Cara climbs up the stairs to her parents’ bedroom is choreographed beautifully. Another well-staged moment is the conflict between Cara and her classmate at his father’s chicken shop.
The cast showed a lot of promise and raw talent and worked very well together. Although perhaps they could have benefited from a few more rehearsals in order to polish some of the choreography that did not flow as smoothly. An example of this is when the ensemble plays the single part of a councillor who is standing for re-election. A travel mug is used to indicate who is the councillor in each moment and a change in accent and voice helps with that too. But the passing of the mug was a bit messy and distracted from the fact that they’re all supposed to be that one person.
But overall the standard was high and there are moments that you forget you are even watching an amateur production. The commitment of the cast and their collaborative spirit is of professional level. And when it comes to their performances everyone shows strengths. Nansi Love, who played the lead role of Cara, did a great job driving the story and gave an understated and emotional performance. Oscar Chandler (Saj) had some very strong moments and his last image was particularly touching. Heather Campbell-Ferguson (Jamie) demonstrated great comedic timing and was very strong in the moments the ensemble played other non-student characters. Maliha Varmani (Saff) started off perhaps quite reserved, but her character developed and eventually became one of the most fleshed-out ones. Marc French (Chris) portrayed his character with truth and commitment. Alice Gulliver (Robin) gave a bold and brave performance. Harriet Nokes (Kirsty) embraced her role as the more mature sister and got across the emotional burden of having to act as a mother to her younger sibling. Ilana Lloyd (Kasia) and Dana Collins (Harriet) both showed commitment to their characters and their individual journeys.
The play is very topical and it represents the voice of young people. Although the story arc is perhaps a bit bittersweet, it’s okay, because it is hopeful and holds some important messages. It was really beautiful to see all the students coming together in the final scenes and putting their differences aside. And the actors did an excellent job undergoing this character development. Even though the text presents this change quite abruptly, the cast embraced it and justified it perfectly.
This was a very good show by Burnt Orange, who have done a great job providing a platform to these talented young performers to be heard and hone their craft. And well done to the cast for a performance that will certainly leave any audience thinking.