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Journey

Matthew Emeny

SparkFest

Burdall’s Yard

25th and 28th May 2018

Journey is an all too real horror story about the disturbing things that go unnoticed in the dark. It focuses on Lucky, a fifteen year old girl who parties solo one fateful night, and loses her bag at the club. A seemingly caring, well-spoken woman called Scab comes to the teenager’s aid, tempting her with a warm cup of cocoa at her home (big red flag there), where we meet Scab’s eccentric writer partner, La Pa. Both of whom – you guessed it – turn out to be not so nice at all…

Lucky finds herself locked in their dingy basement with another trapped girl, Star Flower (who has Stockholm Syndrome) and a bag of rice to keep her company. Burdall’s Yard is somewhat like a basement itself; the tunnelling, narrow walls play a fitting part in the girls’ claustrophobic predicament. Additionally, the use of contrast lighting cleverly represents glimmers of hope, but also fades into hopelessness.

Matthew Emeny’s writing is solid and worthy of a chuckle when needed. His script is excellently brought to life by a small cast of Bath Spa University students who aren’t afraid to laugh maniacally, convey gut-wrenching emotion, or occasionally switch roles. In particular, the actors portraying La Pa and Scab know exactly how to trick the audience with their deceptive duo – but which characters are we supposed to trust? It’s all part of Journey’s engrossing game…

“All I want is your soul. Nothing more, nothing less.” Scab taunts menacingly.

This is where my mature content warning comes in. Journey features several strong, graphic scenes. That’s one of the reasons why I questioned if I’d wandered into the wrong show. From its advertising, I was under the impression that Journey consisted of three different storylines within one play. While I think there were elements of the other two, the story really centres around Lucky’s misfortune. The actors convincingly give their all, especially in traumatic scenes, which makes this intense show hard to stomach at times.

I thought it was a nice touch to be handed a glow stick bracelet at the Box Office (acting as my ticket) which made sense when the audience were ushered into a night club setting by the characters. Oh, and to add to the scare-factor, they were wearing grungy, intimidating clown make up. Let’s just say this production wouldn’t feel out of place at Halloween!

Given Journey’s heavy content, to say I enjoyed the show wouldn’t be the right choice of words, but I didn’t dislike it either – the stellar performances and faultless production value all contributed to telling this depressing story in the way it was intended. One to watch if you’re in the mood for an hour of insane theatre.

Stay safe.

****

Lauren Skillman