Integrity [22-25 October 2019]
"Politics is a tough old game. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions."
And that's just what Integrity, a political thriller with an interactive twist, is asking its viewers to do. This piece of new writing by Vaughan Evans invites the audience to guide the course of the show's second half by holding a vote before the interval. It's a unique experience you do not want to miss.
Integrity begins in 2010, with fictional government employees in a far-from-fiction political predicament. To raise tuition fees or not to raise tuition fees? That is the question. Determined intern Tanya (Francesca Stone) wants to fulfil the campaign promise made by her employer Evan (Vaughan Evans), a Secretary of State, to lower fees. Her colleagues George (Richard Scott), a political advisor, and Vicky (Clare Farrow), his boss, disagree. After Tanya proposes a plan to appease both sides, the situation behind-the-scenes only gets more complicated. What follows is an all too familiar story of workplace sexual harassment mixed with the complex power dynamics of politics.
This ambitious subject and script calls for a compelling cast of actors. Clare Farrow embodied the role of Vicky with ease, displaying emotional control that made the character's flashes of intensity especially powerful. George couldn't have been played by a better performer, with Richard Scott tackling the sometimes chauvinistic chap head-on. Actor Vaughan Evans knew the script so well, that he injected life into Evan even at the tiniest moments. The journey Tanya made throughout the story was interpreted brilliantly by Francesca Stone. She exhibited dynamic choices right and left. Marie Bushnell and Jenni Fownes, who played characters in the second half, rounded out this exceptional group.
Not only did each actor play their part convincingly, but they did so while juggling other duties offstage. A peek into the program will reveal that props, sets, costumes, marketing, stage managing, directing, and even the playwriting itself came to fruition by the onstage talent. The show moved effortlessly across the OSO's black-box style stage, with smart blocking and set pieces that gave just enough context for Integrity's world. Sound design by Harry Doyle and lighting by Claudia Penna also fleshed out each location-- whether at a pub, park, or office.
The words of playwright Vaughan Evans examine the core of the show best. "Can those with power or influence be expected to behave with integrity at all times? Are we that different?"
Integrity is produced by the Krimson Kestrel Theatre Co and will be at the OSO Arts Centre from Tuesday, October 22nd to Friday, October 25th. Showtimes are at 8 pm, with tickets available online at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/osoarts or by phone at 020 8876 9885