I went to see X at the Royal Court on Tuesday 26th April 2016.
The main reason for attending was because Jessica Raine was in it, playing the role of Gilda, second in command of a space station on Pluto.
The play centres around Gilda and her 4 other crew members. They are stranded on Pluto, with all communication to earth lost and no idea when or if they will be rescued. The question what is X?
Jessica Raine is truly magnificent as Gilda. Having to play so many emotions in such a short period of time. Gilda is very anxious, sometimes hysterical, commanding and even sometimes rude to her crew mates. However, she can show compassion particularly in Act 1 to Ray and to Clark in Act 2. Not many Actresses could pull off such a role, however, Jessica showed her passion for theatre and her excellent acting talent by giving her all to her role and wowing myself and many other patrons with an outstanding performance.
Many reviews I have read say that Act 1 is a bit boring. However, I found it absolutely fantastic with many moments of humour and quite a few roars of laughter from myself and fellow patrons. You initially stare at a grey box like stage which opens up to reveal a table, kitchen and a window showing blackness. Throughout Act 1 Gilda shows her unease by chewing her hair, eating crispy wows (dry) and bossing fellow crew. Near the end of the Act, Gilda shows compassion for poor Ray as he is reflecting on his photos. The end of Act 1 sees a spine chilling moment which made myself and the audience gasp.
Act 2 the play heats up. Jess’s role becomes much more intense. Time is, well where, the crew don’t know how long they have been stranded, everyone gets muddled up and tempers begin to flare. It opens with Gilda and Mattie. Mattie is in a space suit. Later, Gilda is with Clark and Cole. Cole and Clark think Gilda is insane and there is a scene where they wrestle Gilda to the ground to calm her (a scene I found to be very well acted out), Cole is ill, he begins to walk funny and Clark and Gilda try to calm him by telling him what is wrong (No spoilers which is why I’m missing Cole’s illness out). Cole collapses and is taken out by Clark and Gilda.
Confusion sets in and Gilda and Clark begin to speak in Xs. Lights flicker, tense atmosphere all around.
There are a few short scenes that are very well done by the design, lighting, video and sound team. Everything turns black between each scene. One involves a huge nightingale on the stage and then Gilda lets out an eerie scream (excellent work by Jessica).
The end shows Gilda in scenes with young Mattie, then older Mattie.
I was left wondering what has happened. Did Gilda die?
I left the theatre that evening feeling very proud of Jessica. I believe she even exceeded my expectations, which were extremely high. I feel very honoured to have seen X and above all to see Jess at her very very best. Such a highly talented Actress.
I would not be surprised if Artistic Directors from the West End and beyond were contacting Jess’s Agent for potential auditions.
Jessica said she was living the sci-fi dream at the Royal Court. In my opinion she isn’t just living it, she’s showing the audience she is living it and loving every moment it. Well done Jessica.
I just hope it isn’t another 2 or more years before we see Jess on stage again. Jess shows true passion for theatre and we need to see more of her.
X should be a transfer for sure. I also feel Jess should be awarded for her tole as Gilda.