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Argonaut
Pleasance Dome
to

New Year is always a time for new starts, resolutions and fresh hope that the turn of the calendar will change everything. Emotions ran extra high at the end of 1999 but there was also fear of the Y2K—the millennium bug could ruin everything, destroy computers and wreak havoc on all other technology too. Looking back it sounds silly, but I remember the hype, it was a genuine talking point.

Taking us back to the last few minutes of 1999, this show looks at the briefly intertwining lives of four people: two stroppy teenagers and a highly strung couple. All four have fears about the future but all have hopes and dreams too. These are explored in a series of short vignettes, some comic and some concerning, the scene changing at the strike of each chime.

They meet in a clearing somewhere near Bournemouth, the teenage sisters having ditched a party to see in the new year by themselves and the couple picking the clearing for safety purposes—the spot on the South Coast furthest from any commercial air travel.

The relationship between sisters Mary (a brilliantly expressive Molly-Rose Treves) and Ruth (a playful but sarcastic Jesse Bateson) initially takes centre-stage and, while scarily believable tips the structural balance, the couple feel underdeveloped in comparison, even when they end up sharing the stage.

There are some great ideas here, the central theme of pitting optimism against pessimism is ideal for the turn of a new millennium particularly given the ‘world is what you make it attitude’ and there’s a variety of nostalgic references too—Tamagotchi anyone? However, the pace is uneven and the script briefly confusing. The energetic cast attack the material with skill but further development would lift this production to intriguing new levels.

Reviewer: Amy Yorston