“Twists, turns and tensions aplenty to keep the audience on their toes”
I’m normally wary of anything that describes itself as dystopian, as I have found that many such works (across all art forms) often struggle to create a world believable or compelling enough to hold my attention. 2044, however, is an intriguing and thoughtful piece, and while a little far-fetched, makes some very interesting conjectures on the future – made all the more timely given the current political landscape.
An independent Scotland, spurred on by a new right-leaning political wave, has developed extremely hostile relations with England, and when floods batter the English coastline, many “southerners” seek refuge north of the border. But, given the political situation, only one member of each family is allowed in – provided they meet the required standards of health, age and skills required for work.
It may seem reminiscent of various events in history, but the situation is presented with a very current and engaging interpretation. The script centres on two such refugees, and their struggle to follow the rules, lest they be seen as a burden on the country’s resources and be punished accordingly. The plot is structured in such a way as to slowly unfurl the background, giving hints at what’s to come, in quite a gripping story. Indeed, the craft and writing of this piece in terms of narrative development are spot-on, there are twists, turns and tensions aplenty to keep the audience on their toes.
Unfortunately though, at times it’s all a little bit melodramatic, and would benefit from a bit more development and depth to allow for greater variation in tone. Every scene feels like yet another “woe is me” announcement, and while intriguing plot developments, it is quite an intense 45 minutes and should really be a longer piece to give itself time to develop and unravel.
Because of the intensity of action, the acting also suffers somewhat. The constant chopping makes it quite frantic and one dimensional, and while some great subtlety is shown by Megan Matheson-Adams as Maria, the cast never feel like they fully hit their stride so the performance falls a little flat. I don’t think it helps that a couple of the monologues are quite forced and obvious, when a more creative way of communicating that information could be found.
Overall, a really commendable effort, particularly with the writing, but not quite the finished article yet.
Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 12 August)