Out Out!

Joana Geronimo
Alphabetti Theatre and Joanna Geronimo
Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

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Out Out! Credit: Ian Mackintosh
Out Out! Credit: Ian Mackintosh
Out Out! Credit: Ian Mackintosh

It was great to be back at Alphabetti Theatre, the theatre close by Discovery Museum that uses every corner of its limited space to entertain, engage and offer enjoyment.

Joana Geronimo (From the Sky to Your Hands, May 2022; The Space Between Us, Open Clasp) is a Newcastle writer and performer with roots in Angola and Out Out! is her one-woman show directed by Wambui Hardcastle (winner of the Young Northern Writer Award, 2020).

She starts in the audience as we see AV projections by Nick Tyler, presumably from social media, and launches into the key question, "do we live more there (i.e. in social media) or in real life?"

An important and highly relevant provocation and the first scene, where she’s out clubbing, is strong, although further development and exploration is definitely possible. From there, she draws us into other questions and stories. This is a conversation and storytelling with an audience rather than a play and is dependent on the audience involvement, who were clearly with her last night.

However, we never actually see a mobile phone, the villain of the piece, nor are most of the intriguing piles of pebbles onstage used.

Lighting by Chris Foley is effective, especially the club scene and the banter between Joana and the almost invisible Chris, who also runs the lighting during the performance, is fun, bringing in a new dynamic.

Joana is a strong performer with a clear voice, humour and great physicality and she could easily sustain more demanding and challenging ideas within the direction of the play, exploring movement and greater use of the stage and experimenting with shifting dramaturgical rhythm and pacing. Maybe explore the play structure more than the conversation?

Out Out! is engaging, funny and provocative and potentially more so, if further explored. Hopefully Newcastle audiences will see more of Joana Geronimo.

Out Out! continues until Saturday 5 November. Tickets are pay as you feel until 22 October and set ticket prices from 25 October–5 November.

Reviewer: Dora Frankel

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