Sticks and Stones, 4 Stars

Sticks and Stones
Roundabout, Summerhall

“‘So we’re clear. You know, right? You know I’m not that kind of person.’ Sometimes we can’t find the right words. Sometimes the wrong word just slips out. Sometimes the right words become the wrong words. Sometimes that ruins everything. When a misfiring joke turns their life upside down, B starts to question what being good really means. In an age when technology multiplies every mistake, can we find a way to understand each other? A razor-sharp satire about the search for a sure footing in an uncertain world from BAFTA-nominated Vinay Patel.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

The Roundabout venue is unique, incredible and wonderful!

Seating 168 people with 627 concealed lighting and sound fixtures. I have to admit I was amazed and enthralled at how well this all works!

The facilities are so good BUT technically you’d have to be on your toes to make it all work for you. Every piece of the performance space is covered in a tight focus so when adjacent lights are turned on the result is a wash. In general, theatre in the round is notoriously difficult to light without splashing all over the audience but this installation by Lucy Osborne has nailed it! Add in the colour changing wash lights and you have the most versatile fixed rig ever!

Many fringe venues suffer from only being able to offer minimal wages for the fringe so you do get a lot of first time venue techs who are limited in experience and technical knowledge. The horror stories told over late-night drinks are toe-curling! That’s not the case here!

Sticks and Stones is a Paines Plough and Theatre Clwyd production so there is clearly a very competent team who do know how to program the lights for the shows. The collaboration is outstanding! The synchronisation of the lights and sound on such a great system is fully utilised so even key words can have a Sound and Light accent. It’s both effective and impressive!

With strong direction from Stef O’Driscoll and lighting by Peter Small the designs and concepts are programmed into the venue by Tom Davis. The cast perform with limited costume changes and no props. It never feels for one second that it’s a “black box” production with lots of energy and full use of the 360 degree audience and 3 stage entrances and exits. The cast hit their marks reliably and are very polished in their performances.

The script is clever and references “that word” used within a joke, which is never spoken but referenced throughout. “that word” is the trigger that dominoes and becomes the catalyst for one woman’s career downfall and sociographic isolation with Social Media fueling and spreading a dislike for her. A lot of physical theatre techniques are used to emote her feelings, most of these work, but possibly a little too much repetition of the same moves on the floor to sustain the inner turmoil.

There are plenty of laughs, and a couple of ad-lib responses interacting with the audience. An extremely accomplished cast delivers this! I doubt anyone in the audience has never said something inappropriate and in these days of #metoo and political correctness it’s easy to see how this play is relevant to everybody!

Highly recommended you go see this play and you absolutely must go experience the Roundabout Venue!

Catherine Pearce
Jack Wilkinson
Charlotte O’Leary

Video Trailer for Sticks and Stones:

Further Information

The Roundabout: Click here

What the papers say.

“A beautifully designed masterpiece in engineering…a significant breakthrough in theatre technology.”
Theatre Building of the Year 2015 – The Stage Awards

“Something strange and delightful has landed… it’s Paines Plough’s new portable Roundabout auditorium, a colourful, comfortable, spaceship-like venue that, delightfully, can be assembled in each new place it visits using only an Allen key.”
Evening Standard

“Paines Plough’s travelling Roundabout Auditorium is probably the loveliest venue at the Fringe.”
The List

‘‘A national tour should brighten many hundreds of lives, young and old.”

‘‘Three new works by playwrights at the top of their game… an ingenious in-the-round plywood amphitheatre… a vivid and immediate theatre experience.”

“If only all children’s theatre could be performed in the Paines Plough Roundabout”

What you say.

“Roundabout is a beautiful, magical space. Hidden tech make it Turkish-bath-tranquil but with circus-tent-cheek. Aces.”
@evenicol on Twitter

‘‘Love the Paines Plough Roundabout auditorium. Wonderfully intimate. Demands great writing and playing… nowhere for anyone to hide.’’
@lyngardner, Guardian Theatre Critic, on Twitter

“New pop-up touring venue for @painesplough is so beautiful it makes my heart lift.”
@KateSagovsky on Twitter

‘‘Being so close to the action makes it feel as though it’s happening in your own living room.’’
@Gillot_John on Twitter

“The Roundabout is an incredible space – can’t wait to go see some of the other shows on tour. Just extraordinary.”
@GeorginaPeriam on Twitter

“Perhaps ‘cool venue’ doesn’t sum up #RoundaboutPP. Magic happens inside that space!”