Review: The Universe plc, Little Man Coffee Shop, Cardiff

Kate Griffin heads to Cardiff’s Little Man Coffee Shop to catch Dramatic Moose’s fifth anniversary performance of The Universe plc

Mondays are tough for a lot of people. No wonder admin assistant Guy is tempted to dawdle in a coffee shop on his way to work. But what if the creator of the universe felt exactly the same way? This is the audacious premise of The Universe plc. Portraying God as just another stressed-out worker allows the writers to explore some of the deepest questions that philosophy and theology have been wrestling with for centuries.

Matthew Fisher plays a lanyard-wearing God and also did some of the writing, updating a script originally by Patrick Wade and Len Rice. Behind the sharp writing is a surprising but entirely coherent alternative picture of how our universe really works.

Ben Wilson is Guy, the everyman whose entire perception of the universe is flipped on its head. He is entirely believable as a man speedrunning the spectrum of emotions while still grasping to understand. Although we’re dealing with big questions here – the very biggest – the play is also about being a fallible human with human-level concerns. Guy’s somewhat self-centred response to everything is very relatable. And Wilson is an actor with serious range. The moments where he is processing hard-to-take information and essentially grieving are particularly moving.

Dramatic Moose return with The Universe PLC in Cardiff

Two-handers like this, especially in the close-up setting of the Little Man coffee shop, don’t give actors any room to hide. But Wilson and Fisher don’t need it. The chemistry between them gives the play an energy that keeps the audience gripped. There’s plenty of light and shade, with many moments of uncontrollable laughter.

The duo have been performing together as Dramatic Moose Productions for five years, winning many awards along the way, but The Universe plc is actually where it all started for them. It was a sell-out production of this play at Chapter Arts Centre in 2016 which inspired them to form the company, as they told Ents South Wales last month. So it makes sense that they are celebrating their fifth anniversary by reviving it.

Join them before this all-too-short run is over and before they move on to bigger things. The Universe plc continues until October 7, 2023.

For further details visit Dramatic Moose Productions website

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