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The Project (Susan Elkin reviews)

Show: The Project

Society: London (professional shows)

Venue: Brockley Jack Studio Theatre. 410 Brockley Road, London SE4 2DH

Credits: by Shannon Kurlander, directed by Lydia McKinley, produced by Greatest Hits Productions

The Project

2 stars

Susan Elkin | 06 Feb 2024 22:18pm

Shannon Kurlander, who both wrote and acts this 50 minute one hander is good at what she does. The play is wittily observed and, in role, she carries us effortlessly along with Katie. It is carefully paced and timed.

Katie is youngish but troubled because, perhaps because of her intensity, her relationships – or “projects” –  always founder. Now she’s in a wellness centre trying to sort herself out with a digital detox, relaxation classes and aspirational slogans. While there – obviously – she reminisces about the past and specifically about two failed love affairs, one with a man and the other with a woman.

Loosely speaking, it’s Talking Heads territory but with a lot more, sometimes pointless, grinding round the set so that there’s something to look at. And Katie is less interesting than most of Alan Bennett’s creations.

Like many new bijou plays The Project is well intentioned and well enough done but you’re left asking “so what?” Katie has got it off her chest and we’ve listened, sometimes touched and sometimes with a chuckle but there’s no resolution so it’s oddly unsatisfying. This woman hasn’t moved on and failed to convince me that she is going to – and perhaps that’s the point but it doesn’t make particularly fulfilling theatre.


First published by Sardines:

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Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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