Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Mark Kilmurry’s play OUTDATED is the Company’s first show since shows were cancelled as a result of Covid in March last year.
During lockdown, Kilmurry, ever resourceful, ran an entertaining, interesting weekly show, entitled Ensemble Conversations, in which he interviewed a wide range of theatre personalities. His guests were interviewed by video link, with Kilmurry in the theatre foyer and the guests seen on a large monitor. Theatre lovers were able to access the interviews from the Ensemble’s Facebook page.
In late October last year Kilmurry published an episode in which he interviewed Rachel Gordon and Yalin Ozecelik, the two actors who perform in this play.
It came out that Gordon and Ozecelik have previously performed for the Ensemble Theatre. They played a married couple in the Norman Conquest trilogy by the great British playwright Alan Ayckbourn.
It is a very different scenario with OUTDATED. They play two people, Olivia, a corporate woman, and Matt, a University film lecturer, in their forties, who have crash landed as single people after they have broken up from long term relationships.
Kilmurry’s play sees them register with an online dating service, You Plus Me. OUTDATED follows their journey from a very awkward first date right up until its poignant ending.
It’s the second Kilmurry play that I have seen, following on from his 2019 play ‘Murder On The Wireless’, also at the Ensemble. He again shows himself to be a good craftsman.
The play is composed of a succession of short, fast paced scenes, with scene titles projected onto the back wall. There is good use of multimedia through the play.
Through the play there’s this swapping between the dialogue between the characters and the verbalisation of their inner thoughts, a device famously first used in Woody Allen’s 1977 romantic comedy, ‘Annie Hall’.
OUTDATED is an authentic, touching, often comic imagining of two people partnering up.
Kilmurry directs his play with a sure touch. He wins good performances from Gordon and Ozucelik who excel in very physicalised comedy.
The highlight of the performance was the jogging scene. Rachel is clearly the younger of the two and she is busily and eagerly jogging away and chatting. Ozucelik is barely able to keep up at the beginning, and then gets increasingly worn out to the point where he collapses. It is hilarious and, straight after, the audience gave them warm applause.
Most of the scenes run into the next scene well. There was just one scene that felt a little tagged on.This was the scene where Gordon breaks into karaoke. It just felt a little like Kilmurry decided here’s a chance to give one of the actors a chance to sing, without it really fitting into the piece as a whole.
Production values were good, especially Simon Greer’s very clever and cute set design.
The show’s soundtrack included three songs; Smokey Robinson’s ‘I Second That Emotion’, Desmond Dyer and Clive Scott’s ‘Sky High’ and Sedaka and Greenfield’s ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’.
A kind of well made theatrical souffle, UPDATED is playing the Ensemble Theatre until 17th April, 2021. Running 90 minutes without interval.
Featured image : Yalin Ozucelik and Rachel Gordon in Mark Kilmurry’s OUTDATED until Saturday 17th April, 2021.. Production photos by Prudence Upton.