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TakeOver 2016: Bucket List

My second experience of TakeOver was much more experimental. Theatre Ad Infinitum’s Bucket List drew me in with its promises of debate about US-Mexico relations and the exclusivity of its performance, this being its last set of working progress previews before an international premier at Edinburgh Fringe in a couple of weeks.

Bucket List 2

Strap in folks, this was a serious one. The narrative follows Milagros, a fifteen year old factory worker who plots to seek revenge upon those responsible for the terrible conditions in Mexico after the murder of her mother at a protest rally. She has a list and aims to kill everyone on it, a list that includes the CEO of the factory company and the American and Mexican presidents. Also, she’s suffering from a serious illness caused by the factory pollution. If you want to feel unaccomplished, just look at Milagros’ story.

Featuring an all female cast, Bucket List used the on stage presence of musical accompaniment as well as movement to create scene transitions and volume to convey urgency. Each actor played several roles, with costumes and set kept to a minimum. Usually I would call this highly confusing, but the actors made excellent use of accents and body language to indicate character change. By keeping everything simple the focus was upon the message and the script, as it needed to be for such a serious topic.

It was an intimate performance, the audience being on the small side. At times it felt a little like when you went to see your friends’ drama coursework at school, you know the one – moody with minimal lighting and dramatic monologues. At one point a member of the audience tittered at the word ‘fuck’, despite coming to see a play about rape, murder and corruption. The acting raised the play above this, with all the cast being excellent and Vicky Araico Casas shining as Milagros.

Bucket List 1

On the whole, as a viewing experience I can only describe it as intense. The play ran for 1hour 30 without an interval, which felt like a long time sat down after a day at work, yet made sense as it allowed tension to build in Milagro’s narrative. There was some amusement offered in the figures of the corrupt officials, all played by the same person plus or minus cut-out fat cat moustaches and fabulous ties. How easy murder seemed to be was also laughable, for Milagros and the audience.

Although Bucket List was not the sort of play I would usually go to see, its excellent composition made it a gripping performance to watch, whilst also fuelling debate between those that went to watch it. If you are looking for something thought-provoking and at times pretty profound despite fifteen year olds killing presidents, be sure to catch this at Fringe before it blows up.