Ex-periences is an original theatre production written by Delia-Rene Donaldson, the co-writer of the award winning "Venus vs Mars" which was broadcast on Sky Living in 2015. Delia-Rene followed her heart to write and produce this play and what an inspiration she is. Using her gift of writing, Delia-Rene is a highly commended blogger, she has written a play which is relatable and relevant.
Ex-periences is based around 4 young professional black women living in London, Jade, Karis, Leah and Rene who are all close friends from secondary school, individually going through different challenges and struggles in their personal lives. The play gives a humourous insight into the highs and lows of their relationships, and their battles to decide what is right or wrong when it comes to men. Their strong friendship, or more accurately “sisterhood”, means that they often look to each other for advice which whilst often empowering it can also be a hindrance. But regardless of the heartache they are going through with their men, they support each other and prove that the most important love to obtain is the love you have for yourself.
We are introduced to the friends at their main hangout of the friendship group “The Spot” and where we meet the majority of the cast. What I liked in particular was the addition of real spoken word artists into play which gave a true sense of authenticity to the production.
Ex-periences is thoroughly entertaining, very funny in parts and great for audience participation
Jade (Rachel Summers) is a successful radio show presenter who falls too deeply and too quickly for the braggadocios Tyrone (Jamie Charles). Their relationship symbolised the usual tug of war between men and women as Jade falls for Tyrone whilst he still wants to be free to be together without labels. Their relationship brought about some of the funniest aspects of the play, albeit also the most frustrating and jarring aspects. This is one thing that Donaldson has done so well with Ex-periences, the ability to draw forth the emotive nature of watching relationships go through their many dramas.
As an audience member not only are you forced to think introspectively about how you would handle such situations but you also want to save them from themselves. One perfect example is Karis (Elisha Myton) who is dating a serial cheater and overall love rat, Stephen played superbly by Juel Vassell. Myton played the role of a lovelorn woman very well and her shining performance came towards the end of the play. Overall theirs was quite clearly one of the most obvious examples of relationship misfortunes and it took a while for Karis to wake up to the reality of her situation. Whilst it is a not uncommon, I found this element to be rather clichéd.
What I liked most was the creative platform used to empower women, sexually, sensually and emotionally, as well as allowing the men to be seen in a positive light too.
The saving grace was the vixen, Stacey played by Cherelle Taylor, whose confidence exuded throughout and gave that particular story some much needed spice and vigour. We also met Rene (Nicola Lamb) and the poet Ryan (Derek Jellow) who were the perfect example of why it is important to know and understand expectations before getting too deep in a relationship. The imbalance of their situation was clear and yet the love which should have saved the day could not, Jason (Dominic Bryan-Wilson) made a great love interest in this love triangle scenario. The star performance came from Rachel Clarke who played Leah, her comedic timing and stage presence made her a true pleasure and delight to watch. Her relationship with Nathan (Dontae Lindsay) was lovely although extremely predictable. Lee (Luca Molinari) added some great visual pleasure to the play – when it returns to the stage you will see what I mean and thank me later.
The music soundtrack and sound was exceptional and really well chosen, I have to commend the music team for their work as it was spot on! The stage setting was not particularly adventurous no exceptional but it served the purpose well and carried the story lines through effectively.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this play, I would have loved to see more character development, which may have meant losing a couple of characters but it would have strengthened the essence and structure of what is a good piece of work. Whilst it is rather long it is thoroughly entertaining, very funny in parts and great for audience participation. What I liked most was the creative platform used to empower women, sexually, sensually and emotionally, as well as allowing the men to be seen in a positive light too which for a black production is to be applauded. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Delia-Rene, she has a bright one ahead of her.
Info: Ex-Periences was at the Lost Theatre on 18 September 2016