Black Lives Matter, an activist group that campaigns against violence and racism towards black people. Only earlier today the group pleaded guilty to invading City Airport runway with a revolutionary attitude. A similar event that frames Kerri McLean’s Reality Check, which focusses on Luke Wilson and his exploits with the group in a bid for justice over the killing of his twin brother. Intense, edgy and ultimately paranoid, Wilson displays exceptional skill in slowly unravelling over a short space of time when finally confronted with the repercussions of his actions and a visceral response to his brother’ death.
McLean writes a poignant and relevant script that simultaneously encapsulates 10 minutes perfectly whilst holding potential for further development. This prize-winning play could easily be extended, and expanded around Wilson’s emotional and physical breakdown. The supporting characters of Veronica Lewis and William Frazer act as a stark contrast that only serves to further emphasise the toll that losing a family member has taken. Wrapped up in their own superficial lives, hungover from last night’s seemingly epic party, they add weight to Wilson’s intensity by initially being so light-hearted. Frazer in particular hits the nail on the head here, overly camp and quick with catty retort that leaves the audience (and some of the cast) in stitches.
The key to McLean’s winning play in this festival is her understanding of background and of audience. This is the play that accentuates both her writing and her directing capabilities, a facet that isn’t apparent in any of the others. The out of body sequence, acting as the turning point in Wilson’s delusionary episodes, is effective and artistically staged. A direction as simple as having the actors project these lines in unison to the top of the theatre showcases McLean’s consideration for the space that the play is being staged in, the tiered seating and the need to hit every audience member with the impact of the words. Projections of black violence by police, activist protests and revolutionary propaganda adds extra dimension to the play; this is a production that is more than its script. A worthy winner.
Writer-Director: Kerri McLean
Producer: Faith Drama Productions as part of Theatre Madness Festival 2016
Cast: Charlotte Chinn, William Frazer, Veronica Lewis, Mark Ota, Luke Wilson
Festival on 10 September 2016