THEATRE REVIEW: Unknown Male ★★★

Unknown Male
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
January 28th 2015

We always hear these stories, sometimes more often than not, of when individuals jump onto the tracks of the railway and are unfortunately hit by an oncoming train. We usually never know what intentions those individuals have moments before, but more importantly, we never know what kind of effects it has for the drivers. Now though, thanks to Stephanie Ridings brand new story, Unknown Male, we find out  not only what the consequences are like for the driver of the train, but also for their family too.

We are first introduced to the characters as they are entering the court, which we return to nearing the end of the play, before we are soon brought back to the day of the event. We soon are took the lives of Lorraine, a mother and the driver, Emily, Lorraine's 16 year old daughter, and Mark, Emily's Step-Father.

The story follows the lives of these three characters, whilst others are imagined on stage. The main focus though is on Emily, as she trys to uncover more about the unknown male, and manages to track the case right down to entering the house and into the bedroom of the male, after finding out his name, looking at a Facebook page dedicated to his death, and talking to a close friend of the male.

I loved how all the characters stories intertwined with each other, and how the play was written in a very real sense. The story had some real sombre moments to it, but also a lot of humour thanks to Mark, who cracked up the audience with a few chat up lines during one scene.

As someone who travels on a train very often, now being at University, I kind of get a whole new sense of what it must be like to be in such a situation that Heather goes through throughout the course of her Journey. Lorraine portrays the character in such a believable state, which makes you really feel for her, especially as she goes through the different stages of dealing with such a situation.

Overall, Unknown Male was a confident script with a respectful actors playing their roles in a most believable and convincing manner. The script knew where it was going, and I feel like it would definitely be a show that has a lot of potential to go further.


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