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Review of Flash Festival 2019: Nine More Lives by Ellipsis Ensemble at Castle Hill URC

As is so often the case, Flash Festival performances have a strong emotional theme running through them, they are so very rarely lightweight, and Nine More Lives from Ellipsis Ensemble is no different. Here as this plays central point is organ donation, and it's spin here, spin used with political context as well, is an idea by high flying politician Emily of making people only eligible for organs if they themselves are on the organ donation list, known as Give to Get, and the play title coming from the nine lives that each person can potentially save.

Emily, played by Izzy Weaver, is a highly driven politician, and Weaver's performance carefully calculates what her two personas represent. We have the clear, business-like character standing at the podium taking increasingly difficult questions, and then we have the more relaxed Emily, having her diary and biscuit quota handled by her ever-reliable PA Molly (Beth Hâf Jones). The two faces of a politician are extremely well created by Weaver here.

Emily's world is about to be turned on its head though, and in a very relevant way as her brother, taken seriously ill, is all of a sudden in need of a donor himself. Her brother Darren is played with a deft style by Moses Gale, it is low key, and because of this all the more realistic as his character faces a staggeringly difficult decision, it is perfectly pitched. Gale also has a collection of other characters in this, all distinctly different, without question my favourite being as Emily's father, is a fabulous little scene, and benefits from a tiny moment of simple physical theatre.

Beth Hâf Jones's PA is a reassuring presence, all organised and proficient at keeping things in order, and she also plays the doctor charged with giving bad news and advising on solutions with crisp integrity.

The play is well created visually, crisp clever scene changes, some simple, but excellent video, and a very well used table. The whole thing is smooth and professionally created as a piece of theatre.

Nine More Lives is a controlled emotional rollercoaster, it brings you through the wringer and spits you out at the end with a bit of hope. If you are already a donor as you watch this, you feel happy to be prepared to help, if you are not, you just might take home one of Molly's flyers and use it. Who knew that a little bit of theatre might save lives.

Performance viewed: Tuesday 2nd April 2019

The Flash Festival 2019 runs until Sunday 7th April 2019 at venues across the town.
Details here: 
Flash Festival 2019

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