If you think youth theatre is only for parents hoping to watch their offspring as they tread the boards, ready to pat them on the head and take them out for a celebratory meal after the performance, you may want to re-think that assumption. Once you have seen the adaptation of Ali Smith’s Hotel World, presented by Kidbrooke School.
Having no prior knowledge of the Ali Smith novel, this performance would be my first introduction to the five female characters. The play takes us through a series of encounters between these five women based within the Globe Hotel’s walls.
Sara is dead. She died in a fall down the dumbwaiter. Her sister Clare is obsessed with finding out how she died. Lise is the receptionist at the hotel who offers a room for the night to Else, a homeless person who begs outside the entrance to this lush hotel. Penny is a journalist who is staying in the room opposite the scene of Sara’s demise.
You may not grasp the intentions and connections between these women at first. The mysterious and circular nature of the dialogue and scenes reveal the story in a manner that engages you in a feeling of discovery.
Slowly, the meaning behind some of the earlier scenes, which, at the time, may have seemed somewhat disjointed, begins to become apparent. I liked how the essential themes - love, life, the importance of time - are gently realised and not force-fed.
The set, designed by Becky Hurst, is minimal. I particularly liked how portions of it were reused, especially the 6 brightly coloured 10ft rectangles that act as portals, giving both the audience and cast insight into other dimensions usually hidden from us. The set’s minimal nature helps the audience focus on the dialogue and character interactions on stage.
Unlike some productions, where set changes are noisy and cumbersome and can act as distractions, reusing the backdrops and main stage props were integral to re-enforcing the circular theme and nature of the story.
This play is intelligent and engaging in a performance directed by Lucy Cuthbertson, using a cast of seven. It is currently showing at the Greenwich Theatre and is due to play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this year.
The troop of young actors confidently deliver in a manner that has their audience captivated and engaged. Solid performances were given by Leonie Sheridan, who plays Penny and Holly Cook, who plays Else. Overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable performance. Hotel World