Culture Writer Heidi Downing reviews Tricera Collective’s Allotment finding it to be a heartwarming, character-driven production

Written by H Downing

Allotment is the debut play of newly emerging local theatre company Tricera Collective. Established in 2024, Tricera Collective features three multi-talented founding directors: Poppy Richardson, Ruby Davidson, and Ben Lloyd, providing audiences with the promise of fresh new writing and of course plenty of dinosaur themed marketing! Tricera Collective’s premiere show took the form of an open dress rehearsal at Stan’s Cafe Theatre on 31st May, and the company is currently busy in preparations as they will be taking Allotment to Edinburgh Fringe later this summer.

Ruby Davidson’s original script follows the journeys and tensions of a group of young adult flatmates who find themselves supporting friend Em (portrayed by Richardson) as she goes through an unexpected pregnancy that slowly shifts the dynamic of the established friendship group. Tricera Collective’s Allotment is a piece of character-driven theatre with plenty of comedic touches throughout, brilliantly brought to life by Director Ben Lloyd. 

This production has a small cast who work well together, bringing the chemistry of the characters to life

This production has a small cast who work well together, bringing the chemistry of the characters to life on stage. Each character is well-rounded, excellently capturing the dynamics of a group of young artists, from Howell’s smitten portrayal of poet Louis to Evans’ tongue in cheek version of sarcastic filmmaker Harris. Jasi’s multirole character features briefly in Allotment, and each time takes to the stage with captivating flare providing a range of diverse portrayals from the sensitive Doctor to the judgemental shopkeeper.

Honourable mentions go towards Richardson who created a fantastic portrayal of protagonist Em through attention to detail characterisations that helped indicate the character’s emotions at different stages of her pregnancy. Davidson’s portrayal of Niamh was a standout performance, successfully encapsulating the character of a supportive best friend. Her confidence with line delivery and electric energy was consistent throughout the play, creating a stunning well-rounded character arc that was engaging to watch and supported other actors on stage. 

Her confidence with line delivery and electric energy was consistent

The minimalistic set compliments the vibes of a stripped back apartment suitable for the characters of young adult artists struggling financially to make ends meet, as well as being highly practical due to the considerations of the fast-paced Fringe environment. From the iconic red plastic cups of the opening scene to the signature beanbag incorporated throughout, audiences are instantly transported to the central setting. At times the transitions between scenes lacked smoothness and the incorporation of scene-change music could have helped aide seamless transitions to blend together the scenes. The production followed an interesting narrative, but at times lacked tight pacing. As Allotment is still in early stages of development it is understandable that it is slightly rough around the edges, but there is plenty of hope that the pacing will improve with more rehearsal time and the general buzz of the Fringe environment to create a snappier narrative journey as actors continue to gain more confidence with dialogue.

Overall, Allotment is a heartwarming piece of theatre with a successful script and tight knit cast of dynamic characters. The open dress rehearsal showcased a lot of potential, despite the occasionally slow momentum of pacing, and it will be exciting to follow the journey of Tricera Collective as the company continues to grow and reach wider audiences in Birmingham, Edinburgh, and beyond. You can catch them at Surgeon’s Hall Theatre 1 from the 19th-24th August, providing an exciting new original play to the Fringe environment. Further details on how to financially support Tricera Collective in developing their work and supporting the cast with the costs of Fringe is available at their Go Fund Me page.

Rating: 3.5/5

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