Getting Even: Reviewed

With St Andrews arguably the most diverse it’s ever been in terms of theatre, it’s rare to see something new. That said, Getting Even is the first play that I can think of that actively incorporates audience interactivity to go up here. As a mesh of an entertaining, hour long experience with simple decision-making, it does just enough to keep you on the hook for the full hour.

Getting Even is a play about the women’s suffrage movement, specifically focusing on four women ­– Clara (Alice Robson), Dot (Caitlin Morris), Mabel (Taylor Webb) and Sophia (Evey Salehi). They each take different perspectives – some initially opposed, some violently in support of the movement – but they all find a unique element of the struggle to express. These all vary in tone and in severity, as what is for some a life and death struggle is for others simply a clash of upbringings, but they all eventually come around to support the cause. For the most part, these women have self-contained stories, each being influenced by a choice made by the audience: should Clara go to the meeting, should Mabel go to work, should Dot make the ultimate sacrifice. The votes, handily collected in a ballot box in the back of the seating area, were counted, and the scene that followed was determined by the tally ­– which was a fun concept, even if the vote never did go my way.

But, with each success comes a few hiccups, in this case the spacing in the venue. I can’t fault the team, as the Barron was closed this week and the choice to stage it in Aikmans’ Cellar did add intimacy. Unfortunately, it also brought with it poor visibility, awkward acoustics, and rough scene transitions. While the last two were helped by the voting breaks, featuring brilliant swing jazz accompaniment from The Roundabout Midnights, the first was constantly pushing against my enjoyment; it’s hard to love a play you can’t see. The stage space was also somewhat cramped, making the action feel small and awkward at times. Additionally, the script was a little too short to go beyond the real surface – apart from Mabel’s story, each scene felt like a series of quickly shot-out talking points rather than snapshots of realized characters. An extra twenty minutes would have given the characters, engaging and fun as they were, more time to breathe and feel natural.

But you can’t fault a play for issues out of its directors’ control, and sometimes what you want is a simple, twee play with a positive message and an engaging gimmick. Getting Even brought exactly that. As an hour long play in itself, it was fun and enjoyable; tack on that extra bit of choose your own adventure (which I hope we see more of), and you’ve got a strong show.

3 Owlies