Welcome to The CO-OP. The dysfunctional acting agency that you'll never want to leave. After Jimmy and Caza lose their best friend at the agency, it all seems to be over. But can exciting and talented Charlie be the answer to their woes? Or will the secrets beneath The CO-OP be revealed? Over the course of an hour, experience the mad traditions and games played within The CO-OP as the three friends try to keep their dreams alive.
The story of The Co-Op is an intriguing one, primarily revolving around life in the performing arts. The play has previously been billed as "a love letter to film and theatre", and I couldn't have described it better to myself. The arts are something that many people take for granted, but The Co-Op demonstrates why we should cherish it. The playwrights clearly have a deep affection toward the performing arts, and this is something which shines clearly throughout. In spite of this, the show doesn't shy away from presenting the more negative aspects of our industry as well. The Co-Op seeks to paint an authentic depiction of what it is like to work in the industry, and does so with great success. It really captured the essence of what life is like as a struggling artist, and the monumental effect it can have on people's lives. The career choice of being an actor is a dream job for many, but it's far from easy; in fact, it is sometimes near impossible. Actors across the globe, no matter how successful, remain admirably dedicated to their field, and The Co-Op represents this notion well. The play has an interested set of characters, with each being unique in their persona. They were all flawed in their own way, and yet you couldn't help but feel yourself rooting for them to succeed. It was easy to relate with each of them in at least one sense or another, and their dedication to acting was truly inspirational. The plot of The Co-Op takes multiple twists and turns as it all unravels, and it was enjoyable to see the story unfold. I was kept on the edge of my seat throughout, and the time really flew by.
The Co-Op consists of a trio of performers, including: Gabriel Fogarty-Graveson as Jimmy, Cara Steele as Cazza, Felix Grainger as Charlie. All three cast members were phenomenal, and they complimented each other's talents. The bond that the characters had with one another felt very believable, which was primarily due to the electric chemistry of the actors. They really immersed themselves in their individual roles, giving performances that felt genuine and life-like. Additionally, each actor was also required to portray various other roles throughout the course of the play, during which they demonstrated an impressive level of versatility. It should be noted that the actors also directed the piece themselves, which is an extraordinary feat in itself. Beyond this, two of the three actors are also responsible for having written the play. It is clear that the Make it Beautiful Theatre Company have a considerable amount of talent within their ranks, and I look forward to their future productions.
Now for my final verdict on The Co-Op. I give The Co-Op...
At a time where the performing arts face severe uncertainty, The Co-Op is a reminder of why so many of us adore this industry. It's an excellent piece of writing, and it's only grown more relevant since it was first written. It's an amazing piece of theatre, performed by a group of extremely talented individuals.
Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.
Thanks for reading!
-The Basic Theatre Reviewer