Review: Standpoint – Pulse Fringe Festival

In a central Peterborough park people come and go. A man offering children sweets, children playing, a bride on her wedding day, fathers, daughters, joggers – all human life is here.

Nicola Werenowska’s latest play, Standpoint, looks at the impact a chance encounter between two of these transient visitors to the park has on each other.

Julia was born in Peterborough but now runs jewellers in Hampstead. Marek is from Poland, building a new career as a carer in the town. Though both have strong links to the town, both feel outsiders. Julia unable to come to terms with the memories the town holds and Marek is treated with hostility by his fellow workers. As their chance encounter is followed up by more meetings, it seems that perceived racism is a two-way journey and both newcomers and old have their own prejudices and pre-conceptions.

Jumped Theatre’s production is still a work in development and, for parts, the actors are still script in hand. There has though obviously been considerable work with the actors as characters are, on the whole, already well-formed.

Lisa Grant and Stephen Sobal work well together and deliver characters that, although initially wary of each other, build a mutual trust and understanding.

Director Kate Hall uses a projected backdrop of images (by Dan Donovan) to create a visual connection to the park, without drawing attention away from the performances.

Werenowska’s script provides an effective look at the suspicions between communities and the tension that lies on both sides. At times, however, the script does suffer from an over-descriptive nature and would benefit from some editing to focus on plot progression and more character development.

While set in Peterborough, the issues faced here are universal and while it may be hard for non-Peterborough audiences to connect with all the local detail, there is enough commonality to make this a wider appeal.

Perhaps the opening montage of characters in the park could be shorter and some more though given on fleshing out the character of Julia, who seems undeveloped in comparison with that of Marek, would prove beneficial.

Overall, though, this is a promising early development of a work that shows much potential.