The final part of The Other Room’s Outliers season comes in the form of Titlas Halder’s Escape the Scaffold. A co-production with Theatre503 and Mongrel Thumb, The Other Room ably demonstrates its versatility in bring new writing and talent to Cardiff.
Escape the Scaffold is a metaphorical title, perhaps of society, rather than me being accused of bringing work home. The debut by Titas Halder is a psychological thriller. Whilst not in real-time, it felt like the most real-time piece from The Other Room.
Escape the Scaffold tells the story of the best friends. First joined as housemates in university, choices made follow them into adulthood.
The story starts with a visitor to the home of Grace and Marcus. Aaron (Trieve Blackwood-Cambridge) falls into their home, the third of the best friends, and introduces the political theme to the piece.The story successfully takes the audience across time, from the decisions made in a student house, to Marcus choosing to make this a family home after years have passed. Mark Bailey’s set design in this regard is wholly successful, with scene and time changes underpinned by Katy Morison’s lighting.
The beauty of the piece is in the dialogue constructed. Rosie Sheehy as Grace brings naivety and intelligence to her character, taking hold of the themes of idealism and paranoia.
With the narrative flitting across time, there is a strength demonstrated in the direction of Hannah Price. Intricacies are maintained to ensure the audience is able to time travel with the characters. Tension is successfully created, as well as the black humour which enables this psychological thriller to be convincing. Whilst this relationship between Aaron and Marcus (Charles Reston Trieve) takes a while to unfold, it is this which leads to the concluding questions on the piece. Whilst the political themes are at the crux of the piece, there are too many questions left. The layers of each of the character successfully unfold throughout the piece. However, this feels unwieldy, there is a feeling that time is passing too slowly. And whilst the characterisations are strong, it the conclusion feels too predictable and yet unlikely.
As always, The Other Room, has brought another dimension of theatre to Cardiff. And the talent across the production leaves a keen sense of “what’s next?”.