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  • Molly Obadiah

Review - Ikaria

Park Theatre

Playing until: 2nd December 2023

Review {AD-PR Invite}

Ikaria follows the story of Simon (James Wilbraham), who has returned to university to complete his final year of studies after taking a year out. After meeting Mia (Andrea Gatchalian), a first-year student, the pair navigate their complex love story, touching on mental health, university dynamics and familial relationships.

The opening scene, set in Simon’s university hall of residence bedroom, is both awkward and endearing, as both students awkwardly dance around what might happen between them when Mia returned to his room with him at the end of the night. As the narrative unfolds, the romantic comedy slowly develops into a much darker story, with Simon’s struggles with depression becoming more and more apparent.

Aside from the two cast members delivering an outstanding and emotionally charged performance, the play's brilliance was immediately apparent from the skilful use of lighting to convey feelings and emotions. The lighting design was not only functional, but was an integral part of the storytelling process. The interplay between the soft warm lighting, and cold harsh shadows enhanced the overall impact of the performance, adding a layer of depth to the narrative.

Equally noteworthy was the emotive musical score that accompanied the play. The music played a crucial role in intensifying the emotional impact of a number of pivot scenes, providing a powerful backdrop that complemented the actors' performances. It wasn't just background noise; it was a key element that contributed to the play's overall atmosphere, creating a poignant and immersive experience for the audience.

The narrative of "Ikaria" delved into the challenges and pressures faced by individuals at university, a poignant exploration of Simon’s mental health and the impact of this on Mia. The play courageously tackled these significant themes, weaving a compelling and thought-provoking story that resonated with the audience. The emotional depth brought to the forefront by the cast, combined with the staging elements, made for a truly engaging and memorable experience.

The staging of the play was another standout feature. The set design and overall staging created the opportunity for a number of impactful moments that enhanced the storytelling. The strategic use of silence during some of these scenes was particularly effective, allowing moments of quiet contemplation that spoke volumes about the deep emotions experienced by the characters. The decision to refrain from filling every moment with speech or music added a layer of authenticity to the performance, allowing the audience to fully absorb the gravity of the situations portrayed on stage.

Ikaria successfully navigated the complexities of university life, mental health, and relationships, presenting a narrative that felt both relevant and poignant. The synergy between the cast, lighting, music, and staging contributed to a production that was not only technically impressive but emotionally resonant, leaving a lasting impression on its audience.


Director and Writer: Philippa Lawford

Producer and Associate Director: Izzy Parriss

Lighting Designer: Shane Gill

Sound Designer: Laurie Blundell

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