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Political drama Distortion: Review

4th October 2021
Filmed live in the Downstairs Theatre at The MAC, Belfast, Distortion is a contemporary political drama set in Northern Ireland centred around three complex, multifaceted characters. This pacy play written by Amanda Verlaque is a fictional take on the world of politics, the influence of PR and powerful personalities striving for a place in the ruthless political sphere.

In the political world, nothing could be further from the truth. When a homophobic government minister resigns in disgrace, his once-safe seat is up for the taking. In come, a brand-new political party fronted by a photogenic, yet shallow husband and wife team, Kevin and Heather Quinn. To secure the seat, they need the support of a jaded electorate. Hence they hire Jo Devine - out and proud PR guru - to provide the picture perfect polish they need. But with conflicting agendas, deception, egos and careers. Who will win?
Distortion artfully directed by Rhiann Jeffrey is a fantastic production which aims to portray the overall sense of the political world of Northern Ireland rather than reflect a particular politician or party. It touches on deeply divisive issues such as abortion, misogyny and particularly homophobia. Universal topics that are relevant to a modern audience and discussed in Northern Irish politics.

The characters are very complex and were convincingly executed by Valene Kane (Jo Devine), Mary Moulds (Heather Quinn) and Micheal Condron (Kevin Quinn). Their sublime acting transports the audience into their lives and carries you along their tangled mess of sexuality, their past, insecurities and conscience as they walk the balancing line of public perception. The relationships, tensions and dialogue between the characters creates an engaging play filled with multiple twists and turns, punctuated with witty remarks.

Distortion which originally was intended for a live audience takes the form of a unique hybrid production combining the best of live theatre and cinematography. The production successfully utilises a range of features from both art forms which works harmoniously to produce a throughly enjoyable show. This new powerful style of filmed theatre means the scenes transition seamlessly matching the fast paced nature of the script. It also allows the unique advantage of viewing the set and the characters from a range of angles which audiences do not get the luxury of having during a live performance. The close ups lets the audience truely feel all the emotions scattered across the characters’ faces which means everyone gets the best seat in the house.

A contemporary, provocative show that is a must see for fans of the twist and turns of politics. 

Available worldwide, Distortion can be streamed on demand from Thursday 30th September to 24th October 2021.  Available at: https://themaclive.com/event/distortion
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