Brad Johnson’s first play, Unicorn in which he also stars, makes its debut at Theatre N16 and ponders the question are relationships just as mythical as the creature which lends its name to this one-act, two-hander?
Unicorn begins long after a relationship has ended, and with the throwing down of a coffee cup we are taken back to the first meeting of the pair. For nineteen year old Jack, and Katie who is three years his senior, the blossoming relationship is almost fairy-tale like, but as we jump through the pertinent points of the romance, things start to turn sour.
Directed by Rob Ellis, Unicorn presents the important points of the story in snapshots of time, in each scene the three wooden crates which form the set, are moved around to create different settings, with props appearing from within the boxes. Many of these props are strewn across the floor, the stage getting messier, as is the relationship, as the play progresses.
The transitions, which could be a little tighter, see the cast moving furniture and often changing clothes as well, this does give the audience some time to reflect on events so far, in much the same way the characters are. It also gives us an opportunity to listen to the superbly eclectic soundtrack that overlays each scene change, from euphoric dance to Justin Bieber, there’s a wonderful feel to the choice of music.
Unicorn unravels its plot magnificently in tantalising snippets, and layers revelations upon intrigue. It’s some very clever writing from Brad Johnson that allows us to see two fairly ordinary characters develop and evolve in such a short space of time.
Both characters move in directions counter-intuitive to what you would expect, yet it all comes together beautifully. Lauren Cooney’s Katie is the intelligent and confident university student, who discovers life is that little bit harder when Daddy isn’t helping out, while as Jack, Brad Johnson is simultaneously both cocky and endearing.
Bringing in concepts of class, race and politics, as well as relationship woes, Unicorn is a multifaceted piece of theatre that keeps its audience thoroughly engaged throughout. Johnson’s debut play demonstrates a whole heap of potential just waiting to make it on to the stage.