Motion, Theatre Utopia, Matthew's Yard - Review

It's not uncommon to nowadays to find plays that deal with body issues and the negative portrayal of women in the media. It is however quite rare to find plays that depict women as exceptionally healthy and involved in sport, with the exception of Charlotte Joseph's Bitch Boxer and Claire Luckham's Tanzi Libre springing to mind.

Written and performed by Sally Reichart and Rosie Frecker, Motion charts one teenager's journey from enjoying keeping fit, to embracing competitiveness and the lengths that staying on top can involve. Growing up in a household with a sister who is also initially interested in sport, Melissa's ability and drive takes her further in her quest to be the best. But the opportunity to enhance one's performance by artificial means presents itself, its alluring undeniable.

While a play with more actors more actors on stage could have emphasised the inherent drama and tension from the choices Melissa makes, the intimate nature of Motion places its focus squarely on knowing her as a person and why she loves 'winning' in general. In this judgement-free environment, Reichardt endows Melissa with a likeable, malice-free personality that on the surface sidesteps the 'morality' of the issue. It's up to the audience then to take on board everything this personable girl has said, and judge her commitment to winning...

© Michael Davis 2016

Motion runs at Matthew's Yard, Croydon from 22nd- 25th September, with a 3pm matinee on its final day on Sunday.


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