Sticks and Stones

Vinay Patel
Paines Plough & Theatr Clwyd
Roundabout @ Summerhall

The most fun thing about Paines Plough, here collaborating with Theatr Clwyd, is watching the same three actors reinvent themselves for different production. (An actor’s delight—especially when the scripts and characters are so juicy.) How to Spot an Alien is nothing like Sticks and Stones.

We are warned up front that this will not turn out well: “it could happen to you”. Katherine Pearce, Josh Wilkinson and Charlotte O’Leary make up this versatile cast deftly directed by Stef O’Driscoll, who take on this fast-paced, if uncomfortable, situational drama so very much like Alice down a rabbit hole.

B was pumped for the meeting. This will garner her a promotion. Until a co-worker mentions a tiny bit of a problem. Seems she said the word. You know, as part of a joke. I mean, “you know, I’m not that kind of person”.

Although she tries to dig herself out of the hole, like quicksand, it gets her deeper and deeper. She back-peddles like crazy but it just makes it worse.

We’ve all been in situations that get worse the more we try to fix them. We know that there will be collateral damage. We hope it will be minimal.

So, the meeting didn’t go well. We’ve lost the client! I’m not getting the promotion! I’m on suspension! I’m fired! Am I getting sued? It. Was. Just. A. Joke.

We know that with Paines Plough we are going to see something controversial and thought-provoking. And always about ourselves in the end. This stellar cast keeps the pace fast and tension high, made easy with the tight script from BAFTA-nominated playwright Vinay Patel.

Reviewer: Catherine Lamm

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