As the lights dimmed for the start of One Hour Only, video projections and voice-overs appeared on stage, calling the audience to attention as the characters set the scene for the next hour. In this new production from Made From Scratch Theatre Company - written by Sabrina Mahfouz - the audience is introduced to Marley and AJ who are both experiencing their first night at a high-end brothel from very different angles. The next hour is spent witnessing the unlikely meeting of these two individuals and exploring the varied paths two colliding lives can take.
The play is beautifully written, and wonderfully performed by Nadia Clifford and Faraz Ayub. Together they examined the power dynamic between relationships, both in and out of brothels, with excellent skill and dynamic timing.
The set is simple and effective; lighting was used throughout to distinguish the tone. However, though mostly well used, a small amount of awkward blocking meant the lighting hindered rather than helped the mood, but this was a minor hindrance. Throughout the production there is a beautiful contrast between the naivety of the characters and the seriousness of the subject matter. The potential of both actors and characters is apparent and brilliantly displayed during the whole duration of the performance. As the show slipped into its stride, the strength and authenticity of the characters unfolded. The barrier created between the audience and the performers by the initial video was effectively established, then shattered to create an intimate experience. Full of surprising comedic moments, both Clifford and Ayub are able to create characters whose personalities leap off the stage.
One Hour Only presents an engaging and believable snapshot of two very different lives colliding. More than the incredible acting, the premise of the show adds a feeling of intimacy and reality to a near perfect production.