LITTLE ECHOES | London, The Hope Theatre

Tom Powell’s new play possesses more confidence, ingenuity and storytelling than some productions with writers twice his age and experience.

The stage is a narrow strip of moonlight as three London lives collide, circle each other and disappear into the drain of modern slavery, framed by overlapping monologues and voice overs. Dangling bulbs illuminate and disguise the action with pinpoint precision, while the constant hum of traffic looks to muffle their confessions. In this performance at least, The Hope Theatre’s lack of soundproofing and immediate proximity to the A1 is, defiantly, an asset.

The three actors: Mikhael DeVille, Ciara Pouncett and Maisie Preston (the latter of which is nominated for an Off West End “Offie” Award), are fearless and committed, and never miss a single beat. They look directly into your eyes, appealing to you, and scream at the top of their lungs — it makes for harrowing viewing.

This is still a young production, and as such has the whiff of something naïve about it — with villains somewhat caricatured, some misplaced swears and some unconvincing drug use. However, there are enough humorous metaphors and measured characteristics to keep this whiff of naïveté at bay.

In the end, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed by the sheer power of theatre. The production is partnered with Beyond The Streets, a charity that works to create pathways out of sexual exploitation. Powell’s writing makes sure we really feel something, so because of this (and the size of the theatre) it is almost impossible to sidestep the collection bucket on the way out.

Little Echoes runs at the Hope Theatre until 9 March 2019.

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