Dare You Say Please is described as a dark comedy drama about a heavily populated society which has pushed to take extreme measures. Two 25-year-olds are put into a room and have 60 minutes to decide which of them survives.

Credit: Robin Kent

Oscar and Maria spend their allocated hour questioning which of their lives is really more valuable and what dictates that. It uses a fairytale analogy of life stories, a hint of sympathy, and understanding, but what makes life worthy is something this play explores in relation to normality and posing questions of what this even means. Written by Aimee Varani, this play is hyper-natural in conversation and relatable, even though it’s set in an alternate reality. Based in a room with no props allows sole focus on deliverance. The script has potential with some parts making the audience think; however, there are many times in which the dialogue goes back to a previous conversation which feels unnecessary to the storyline. Furthermore, it feels too predictable and doesn’t allow a strong connection to the characters. This may be part of the intent, but as an audience member, I wanted to be invested in both of these characters’ fight to be the one to leave the room. Although there were elements of the storyline I enjoyed, I felt overall it was a bit too cliche.

Credit: Robin Kent

Both actors’ characters are contrasted, with Oscar (Leon Finnan) very over-the-top and philosophical and Maria (Nancy Farino) more down-to-earth with a sense of normality. Throughout the show both characters’ journeys slightly change, but not in a way that they become more likable or memorable. One of the only sounds used is the press of a button that states how long is left in the room. This would be a great opportunity for a shift in tempo and eagerness as this is counting down one of their deaths. However, I didn’t feel enough (or any) contrast in change. The blocking is minimalist, alternating periodically, and most of the time only one actor’s face could be seen, making it hard for the audience to engage.

Although there were slight moments of comedic elements, it could have gone further (as well as the rest of the show) and the use of changes in emotional response and pace would have helped this. I was specifically invested for the last five minutes of the performance with a shift in beats and tonality, which I wish had been there more frequently through the rest of the long-feeling 60 minute piece.

Credit: Robin Kent

Both actors are strong; however, the overall deliverance and dialogue feel too repetitive. A change in direction and some script alterations that allow for a journey of development would help make this what could have been gripping play more dramatic.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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