“Williams’ play is highly compelling, with comic characters and smooth dialogue that was a pleasure to watch from start to finish”

‘Lobby’, written and directed by Freya Williams, and co-directed by Maryum Ahmed, explores a political scandal through characters’ affairs and antics at a hotel Lobby. Performed at the Assembly Rooms, Aaron Lo’s set design successfully created contrasts between a bustling Lobby and a high-intensity, strained interview with an MP, compellingly played by Mimi Nation-Dixon. A fast pace is kept throughout and the audience quickly became engrossed in a scandalous plot which arced fluidly towards a climatic finale.

In the director’s note, Williams mentions she “wanted to create a space in which an audience could reflect upon the intricacies and hypocrisies of public figures’ identities without the distraction of identifiable parties”. This was certainly achieved. Through cleverly timed beeps – thanks to Theo Nellis’ sound design – when characters names or places would be mentioned, a playful sense of anonymity is created. The audience is even left to imagine prominent politicians and journalists who might be inspiration for the plot, and there’s a sense of mystery that intrigues us from the start. It was refreshing to see sound used in a new way. 

Williams’ play is highly compelling, with comic characters and smooth dialogue that was a pleasure to watch from start to finish. The writing captured well the playful dialogues between high-profile individuals and quirky personalities. The performance from Rosaleen Tite-Ahern as the Journalist was particularly impressive, with good projection and comedic timing, as well as capturing well the sultry affair with the Opposition, played by Eleanor Sumner. A highly commendable performance comes from Raphael Kris, who commands the stage in playing misogynistic, classically dismissive and egotistical Frontbencher, who replies “keep the change” in a delightfully arrogant way and openly belittles and harasses the character of Kate. The lines were mostly delivered well, but perhaps a slower and clearer delivery could have been given by Krishna Kumar, playing the Businessman. Williams and Ahmed’s direction allowed for a good pace to be kept throughout.

The set design was fairly minimalistic but effective, with all the elements of the lobby on-stage and Rory Collins’ lighting used well to switch fluidly between scenes. Additionally, sound design allowed for a reminder of the atmosphere of political professionalism, circling this world of scandal and affairs, with a voiceover playing in between scenes. 

‘Lobby’ truly sets the standard high for student writing. All aspects of the production team came together well to produce a piece of compelling and thought-provoking theatre that left the audience feeling shocked; a must-see for political-drama or scandal-lovers.

By Freyde Sayers

Lobby is performing in the Assembly Rooms Theatre until the 19th November

Photo Credits: Pitch Productions