NUTS Review: DNA

teenager is dead, the body missing. A group of teenagers scramble to cover up their involvement. Desperate times call for desperate measures and so the hierarchical structure is abandoned as Phil (Patrick Watson) is promoted to ringleader – he is the only one clever (and brutal) enough to think up a solution. DNA breaks away from the other NUTS productions so far this term by bringing a gritty drama to The Cluny.

After a tense beginning the play spirals into action, inaction, and confusion. Obsessed with trying to cover their tracks, the group of friends implicate others and plunge inevitably downwards to the play’s grim and undefined ending. Plot twists abound and the improbable plot is kept grounded by the finesse of the actors; there are no questions as to why ‘that’ happened, only how Phil is going to react this now.

Ihe heart of the play is the relationship between Phil and Lea (Rosie Bonner), two characters which contrast in all the right ways: Lea never stops talking, Phil never stops eating, Lea yearns for Phil’s attention, and Phil never gives her any. Phil is clever, and brutally practical, with DNA’s poster showing him holding a plastic bag on someone’s head. However, where these two flourish, others potentially suffer, it was a shame that interesting and well-acted characters like Jo Tat (Tim Spalding) had little stage time.

That said the actors performed very well together and the progression of every character can be mapped-out perfectly. Each one reacts differently to Phil’s plans and between them they panic, threaten, question and ultimately submit. However desperate the circumstances are it is never forgotten that they are a just a group of teenagers and constant dark humour offers relief from the grimness.

This production is powerful, thought-provoking and funny. DNA has paved the way for the more serious NUTS plays like Macbeth (30th-2nd Dec) and Rope (6th-7th Dec).

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