The Mancunion

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Review: Breathing Space

Created and performed by students at the University of Manchester this space adventure shouldn’t be missed


Breathing Space is a play completely put together by students at the University of Manchester, all of whom have evidently worked incredibly hard to produce this piece of theatre. It is a somewhat thrilling play, centred on six individuals undertaking a mission into outer space. When technical problems stop them in their tracks, the tension rises and the drama begins.

The 3 Minute Theatre was an ideal location: this small venue allowed the audience not only to further connect to the anarchy unfolding on stage but, in some sense, empathise with the characters trapped aboard this ship with no way of escaping. The audience becomes invested within the play and the helpless situations of those trapped in outer space, with the situation’s reality being made very clear by events like the tragic suicide of Maria — played by the talented Ele Robinson. Glimmers of hope for the crew throughout kept me longing for a way for them to escape, remaining hopeful in the very same way that they were, with clever switches between situations involving an imaginative use of light and sound, bringing this further to life.

Breathing Space, however, is not all doom and gloom, with much dark humour strategically placed throughout the play, most notably by character Josef Meek (Sam Williams). This was, I believe, essential to the play as it allowed the audience to laugh and feel at ease in the same way as the characters amidst high levels of tension. Of course, there were moments where I felt that perhaps the tension was encompassing the play entirely, although the main point was the breaking down of the relationships between the characters, including shocking revelations throughout. However, sometimes I felt that perhaps this was simply too much. Perhaps a deeper connection with the audience and understanding of characters could have been achieved without the blazing rows. This was depicted beautifully in a scene between the Captain and character Isaac, both played by wonderful young actors, in which emotional confessions were made without the fiery tension of two characters yelling viciously at one another and is definitely something that I would have liked to see more of throughout. Nevertheless, this was a play that I enjoyed watching, with a particularly stunning ending. All of the cast and the creative team should be proud of it.

Breathing Space is being performed at The Three Minute Theatre from the 2nd to the 4th of March.

Writer/Director — Tyler Holland
Producer — Natalie Fern Davies
Designer — Grace Currie

Mary Morris — Arkadina Morris
Ele Robinson —  Maria Ascolt
Adam Wadsworth — Isaac Fowler
Emma Tomson — Harriet Bowman
Sam Williams — Josef Meek
Phil Moynihan — Osmond Rowland