Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Unconditional

Josie Dale-Jones and Stefanie Mueller with Shon Dale-Jones
ThisEgg & Stefanie Mueller in association with Hoipolloi
The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth

Where men have destroyed, so womanhood can heal seems to be the underlying theme of Unconditional.

The mother and daughter combo Stefanie Mueller and Josie Dale-Jones (with a bit of creative input from Shon Dale-Jones aka Hugh Hughes) is resolved to make a show—a modern fairytale perhaps or, as it turns out, to tell the story of their attempts to do so.

So time moves back and forth, from invention and trial to the veritable ‘shitstorm’ eventually unleashed on an unsuspecting audience as the world is in turmoil with Brexit, terrorism and natural disasters.

With a large plastic duck (real), an omnipresent last-and-now-dead male hornless great white rhino (imagined), flooding and sirens and birth and death in the front row, the duo populates the stage with characters (real) amongst the prevailing stench of armpit and Lynx Africa (imagined).

There’s tool T-shirted taciturn Tim, resplendent in shorts, socks and sandals called upon to be the guardian angel as chaos prevails with a hijack on stage; obsequious Meg, doyenne of the bucket; superwoman Holly on constant amber alert to save the world if not her five-year-old Melissa; a gun-brandishing man in a blue suit on the replacement bus, a soggy homeless chap somewhere near the back row, and many more.

Beautifully narrated and with wry observation, the piece stumbles with flights of fancy never quite landing and myriad threads left waving in the storm.

Reviewer: Karen Bussell