‘Secret City’ review

9th May 2015

Bridges Urban Park, Belfast

Prime Cut Productions’ ‘Secret City’ was performed in Bridges Urban park. The park provides facilities for skateboarding, in-line skating, Parkour and BMXing. So before the performance began it was uncertain where the action would be taking place. This added to the excitement as it kept the audience looking around in anticipation and built attention and enthusiasm from the start.

This continued throughout the piece, as performers made entrances and exits from different positions. There were also overlapping pieces of action on stage and sequences that involved the whole cast, interspersed with parts involving only one or two performers.

The space was excellently used with enormous variety in the staging. It was wonderful to see the young performers moving about with such confidence and some of the movements, often challenging, were quite athletic and captivating. The performers looked like they were enjoying being in the space and reacting to each other.

The performance was divided up into short scenes and there was a lot of background music and sound effects. These sounded very modern, trendy and created a fun atmosphere. The music was timed with precision. The scenes effortlessly and seamlessly moved from one to the other and the whole piece looked very well rehearsed.

Overall the ensemble pieces were very well supported by all the cast and the individual and smaller group scenes provided the audience with a stronger focus. Hearing from main characters, in monologues and individual movement pieces, provided more insight into the characters and helped the audience to engage with their stories.

There was very little text in the piece, which mostly concerned characters’ thoughts and feelings about situations in their lives, responses to their environment and the generations before them, and opinions of importance. All the actors were very coherent and it was enjoyable and interesting to hear their opinions. These were thought-provoking, stated with clarity, and were genuinely from a young person’s viewpoint.

The theme of the piece was for the young people to voice and express their fears, and for the audience to relate to what it is like these days for a young person growing up in Belfast. Some details about the content were: a boy talking about politics, a girl frightened about private pictures being posted on Instagram, fights between different young people, views on their parents and make-up, and the relationship between a boy and girl.

There was little by way of a storyline, but the focus was mainly on movement, and this was visually very rich. The stunning visuals made this piece very memorable and absorbing, and I doubt very much whether the audience’s attention ever wavered.

A very entertaining and enjoyable piece, and being outdoors was refreshing. Thankfully, it only rained for five minutes.

Script **
Production ***

Kathleen Hoey


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