Review Little Echoes by Tanica Psalmist

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Little Echoes is a ninety minute play with no intermission, written by Tom Powell and directed by Stephen Bailey. The show was held at The Hope theatre in partnership with Beyond the Streets, a UK- based charity who partner with women on their journey out of sexual exploitation. With a strong belief that a life is possible beyond sexual exploitation, striving to prevent abuse in pursuit that all women will be safe from coercion, violence and control. Little Echoes took place in a small intimate space and consisted of three cast members; Maisie Preston as (Danielle), Ciara Pouncett as (June) and Michael DeVille as (Shajenthran).

I loved that the seating arrangement had the audience seated around the centre stage. Everyone experienced a different level of intensity depending on what angle you were watching from, however whichever angle you were sat, you were able to capture a significant instillation. The themes explored in this play were naivety, captivity, manipulation, sexual exploitation, deceit, resentment, regret, pain, infatuation and coercion.

This production was well directed. Whenever watching a production that has no intermission it’s vital to contain a multitude of emotionally compelling content that contains sensibility, action, relatable characters, climax, tension and credibility. Little Echoes incredibly migrated all those elements together, combining the essence of multi roleplaying and miniature props, subtle lighting and one dress change of Danielle getting into a grey tracksuit not long after witnessing two girls wearing the same outfit.

Very subtly after she’d seen that, Danielle’s admirer mentioned he’d like for her to get changed as her appearance could be a distraction, to then quickly correcting himself to being a distraction for him. Once Danielle changed her clothes, he commented ‘you look beautiful’ you could hear the negative connotation piercingly. Dannielle’s energy shifting prompted him to take advantage, stimulating her mind to emotionally distract her from the wider picture of what was really going on.

Danielle was brilliantly played by Maise Preston being an extremely relatable character, making her therefore very likeable. Her characteristics were funny, nerdy, naive, quirky, daring, young, wild and free; easily flattered, therefore drawn impulsively to a charming older man giving her attention, highlighting his successful music career and ongoing tours. Dannielle being head over heels and fuelled with lust, made her determined to impress a man she barley knew by pretending to be as into music as he was, hoping to secure a special place in his heart. It was emotionally devastating watching Dannielle repeatedly being taken advantage of, constantly seduced and caressed until she was able to mentally, physically and emotionally be convinced that she didn’t exist when she’d surprisingly open her eyes to find herself with the other girls in the room; recording her.

Every scene was suspenseful, every moment was sentimental and every action correlated to an incident that occurred later on in the play, making every aspect fundamental.  The stage was mainly softly spot lit, helping to make the intensity more surreal and impactful to watch.  All three actors complimented each other well, bringing high energy and temperament, changing accents and tone of voice to fit into different roles simultaneously.

It was impressing to see all three actors who’d been narrating and foretelling their own individual stories connect towards the end of the play. Towards the end you witness a torn unison of vulnerability, helplessness and victimisation. All three individuals were brutally hurt, attacked tragically in an artificial world that left division, confusion and a cliff hanger of the unknown. Little Echoes connectivity is profound and compelling. A well structured play that was extremely simplistic but yet fused with vitality and mental stimulation. Jumbo Pact with an imperative message that raised awareness to the severity of Sexual exploitation.

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