Swell Theatre Company
Online theatre is a new concept forced upon us by lockdown yet already there is an online equivalent of Noises Off. Well no, although Rehearsal Etiquette concerns a theatre company, Ferelith Kingston’s comedy is wider in scope taking in the petty frustrations and unnecessary conflicts which most of us have experienced attempting to perform tasks we used to complete face-to-face remotely over the Internet.
The efforts of company director Jo (author Ferelith Kingston) to organise an online rehearsal of a new musical are disrupted by scheduling confusion, lost connections, parental interruptions, indiscrete e-mails and the fact most of the company would rather be discussing smoothie recipes.
Kingston’s comedy demonstrates the reason using online communications for business purposes is occasionally exasperating is, as yet, most of us still regard it as a gimmick and tend not to take it seriously. The jokes in Rehearsal Etiquette, therefore, are not limited to the acting community but have a wide appeal—annoyance caused by a lost connection mid-meeting or participants drifting off the point are very common experiences.
The five members of the cast work well together, all capturing the slightly odd feeling of trying to work while in your bedroom or kitchen. Rehearsal Etiquette certainly catches the sensation that if you are at home, rather than in a formal setting, it is acceptable to be distracted.
The light-hearted approach taken to the current mess by Swell Theatre Company is very welcome.
Reviewer: David Cunningham