"So, it's a story about..." Actually, it doesn’t matter what the story is about. What it’s really about is the delightful characters, whimsical scenes and joyful delivery. What it’s really about is that I came in feeling stressed and left with saunter and a smile.
Though there clearly is narrative, Unconditional is at its heart a character piece. Mother and daughter journey to put on a play, meeting or imagining a host of characters and unlikely scenes on the way.
The play is very comfortable in itself. It doesn’t try hard to make a point, or to teach the audience a lesson, or be ever so meaningful. What you get instead is high quality, lighthearted good humour. Neither vapid nor silly, Unconditional is simply good at what it does.
Also clearly good at what they do were Josie Dale-Jones and Stefanie Mueller, playing (and being) daughter and mother respectively. The first thing you notice is the warmth and rapport between the two; I enjoyed spending time in their company because they clearly enjoyed being with each other too. Perhaps more impressive still was Dale-Jones and Mueller’s ability to conjure up a cast of different and delightful characters into their story. Each was distinct and delightful in their own way, and they all interacted with each other just you would hope they would.
Equally impressive was that somehow Unconditional managed to build into a crescendo, getting progressively funnier and sillier, while never feeling too heavy or overplaying its hand. It must have something to do with the pacing, dialogue and interaction, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. All I know is that when I wasn’t laughing I was smiling, and that towards the end I found myself chuckling away while leaning forward in the seat.
An hour after coming into the studio in a dark mood I left sauntering back to my car with a big old smile on my face. It was silly, it was funny and it was undeniably a good show.