Four medical students, Wilf Spencer, Mati Connor, Samantha Harvey and Tiffany Jenner; their challenges are inside the lecture theatre and the anatomy room, but their minds and lives are elsewhere, they live, they breathe, they have hopes, they have hangups, and right now they have hangovers, but the immediate concern is Florence Fitzgerald.
A first year student Wilf has been hanging out with in the library, she’s not accustomed to the hard partying of the four seniors and remains resolutely unconscious; ostensibly the adults in the room and with the benefit of medical training, should it not be they who are responsible for her, even if based on the evidence they are barely capable of being responsible for themselves?
Written and directed by Jessie Millson, Pressure Cooker takes place in a single space in a single hour, Hannah Kendall’s Florence barely more than a prop lying on the kitchen table which they move around, Evanthe Gee, Maya Chawla, Fran McDaid and Jamie Egan as Wilf, Harv, Tiff and Mati using her as just another example with which to demonstrate their knowledge, a learning experience rather than a person, even if to three of them she is only an acquaintance rather than a friend.
In orange disco suit and assured to the point of appearing predatory, Wilf is accustomed to being the focus of attention while Tiff’s clinical detachment which at first appears to border on autism is possibly a defence mechanism to keep her safe, while Mati feels empty despite his achievements which he feels allows him to judge the others as Harv tries to untangle the knots and recall why she has a bandage on her foot; what actually happened last night?
Seen early in its run, already Gee and Chawla’s contrasting performances are the core of the play, the friction between them generating the heat which brings a well-structured piece of theatre of tangled personal and professional relationships to a simmering boil, Pressure Cooker a show seasoned with ambition and resentment which will improve as the young cast find their confidence in their new venue.
Pressure Cooker runs at theSpace on the Mile until Saturday 26th August