Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 1/31/17 1:05 pm
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The second story of the fourth Graceless set finds the Graceless Sisters in the midst of a bitter war. Seeking to put an end to the war, Abby (Ciara Janson) and Zara (Laura Doddington) try to force the leaders of the two sides to make peace, but they instead find themselves separated from one another. To win the war, they must come back together, even if that means make a difficult sacrifice. The second story of this marks a wonderful return to form for Janson and Doddington, with Guerrier delivering a bleak, nihilistic, high-quality story.
Once again, the original Graceless Sisters are back, with Ciara Janson as Abby and Laura Doddington as Zara. Coming off of Annie Firbank's and Siân Phillips' performances as Amy/Abby and Joy/Zara, I found myself a bit disappointed by these two. One big criticism is that it was sometimes hard to follow along with which character was which; there were times, when the characters were separated, that I had to keep looking at my notes that said which one was with which guest character, to figure out who was who. But the times that I could distinguish them, I thought that Doddington gave a fine performance, while Janson gave an alright performance. Doddington did well with the emotional bits of the story, while Janson was more just "there" with the story. Which is perfectly fine, but it made the story rather confusing at times.
Of the guest cast, the main guest stars here are Nichola McAuliffe as Comorant, Carol Starks as Slink, and Victoria Alcock as Marcella. McAuliffe and Starks act alongside one another and alongside Janson and Doddington for most of the story, and are particularly fun. I liked Slink a bit more, as her character felt a bit more down to Earth than Comorant, but I still quite liked both of their performances overall. Alcock's performance as Marcella was a smaller one, but a nonetheless important one, especially given the ending. However, much like the main cast, I found that no one really stood out too much; all three had moments here and there throughout the story, but by and large, it wasn't the best guest cast, in my opinion.
The plot, and Guerrier's script, was the strongest part of this release. It was a bleak tale of war and the dangers of interference. What I particularly liked about this release was the mistakes that Abby and Zara kept making, and how they had to keep going back to try and change it, over and over, until the very end. The end of this story, with Zara's calm recounting of the horrors that are about to be unleashed upon these people, was the highlight of this story, and a strong bit of acting by Doddington. Janson's horrified reaction to it is quite good as well, and I think that Guerrier's original script deserves thanks for the strength of that final scene; especially given how he chose to end it ambiguously (for now at least).
One very minor, yet extremely heartening thing I noticed in this story is that the vast majority of this set features female actors. It's a nice change of pace, especially given the current political climate, to see an almost 2:1 ratio of women to men in this story. This isn't so much a criticism or compliment, but more a heartening observation.
Overall, I found this story to be a strong, bleak story. The cast had some issues with characters really not standing out too much, but the script that Guerrier delivered was strong. It was an enjoyable second story, if not the strongest acted story on the planet.