Gloria @ Hampstead Theatre
Cast Includes Colin Morgan, Ellie Kendrick and Bo Poraj
Running Time: 2 hours 20 mins, inc. Interval
Gloria is a show of two halves, and arguably the best thing that has come out of Hampstead Theatre Upstairs this year. It starts off as a well-written and quite funny office drama, full of rivalry and ambition, however, by the end of the first half the unthinkable happens, and the second half charts the after effects of Act 1 – no character has been unaltered, however it places them in occasionally humorous contexts, and also tackles deeper and darker issues such as the cynicism of the media.
It is really difficult to talk about the plot of Gloria much more than this without ruining the shock factor that the play has – this is shock factor in the truest sense of the word, in that it is a logical development from previous events, though not an unexpected development. The piece is well written and its major characters are well rounded, though a couple of latter characters in the piece (which have shorter stage time) feel slightly shallower and more cliched – this though may be expected due to the play’s themes – in an industry which is presented as image being everything, is there any depth to be expected?
The cast’s performances are also particularly noteworthy, especially in the first half of the piece, in which the piece feels more of an ensemble cast with a higher energy, with the second half tending to have scenes with a smaller amount of characters. In particular, Colin Morgan is engaging and funny, but manages to bring really vulnerability at the end of the Act.
The piece also has high production values which includes having an onstage vending machine, photocopier and laptops where the audience can clearly see the actors using in realistic ways, which really adds to the veracity of the piece. The special effects that are also evident in the piece are highly realistic and add to the visceral shock.
Summary: A highly slick and engaging production with great performances that has one of the strongest pre-interval scenes in the past year. Stunning. ****