Staying creative during a global crisis, Interabang Productions have created SceneToSeen, a six-part online series of cinematic shorts featuring original writing and strong performances from the Scottish theatre company.
It’s a relief to discover that not every episode revolves around COVID-19 and lockdown. That said, those that incorporate the pandemic do so in creative and compelling ways. In Cinderella Complex by Kirsty May Hamilton, we meet a “principal girl” looking for a helping hand in the panto-sphere. Full of tongue-in-cheek remarks about life in lockdown and classic pantomime characters, Hamilton’s performance makes the cancellation of pantos this Christmas all the more heart-breaking. In Aye, Miss by Benjamin Storey, we experience one parent’s nightmare: realising your child knows something you don’t. Karen Bartke and Jordan Cramond play a convincing mother and son who are struggling to adapt to homeschooling, with Bartke realising the French she remembers from school is not quite up to scratch. It’s in these humorous shorts where Interabang Production excels: while every joke may not be hilarious, they come thick and fast. This is particularly the case in Body Issues, where the team go to great (and very messy) lengths to entertain their audience.
As for the more serious episodes in the series, the change in tone occasionally holds them back. It’s surprising how many of the SceneToSeen shorts revolve around death: in more than one episode – including the funny ones – the action suddenly takes a sinister turn. While this works very well in Rachel Flynn’s Permanent Scar, with the writing complimented brilliantly by Cameron Fulton’s disarming performance, the desire to shock viewers ends up becoming predictable. In After the Beep and No Hero, it’s as if the writers have taken things one step too far in trying to grip their audience.
Still, Interabang Productions make up for these weaker moments with their filmmaking talents. Rather than shy away from the medium – which will intimidate many theatre companies looking to go online – they take every opportunity to show their strengths. Each episode has its own style when it comes to the opening and closing credits, with the Marvel-esque credits for No Hero being especially well done. Elsewhere, visual effects are confidently used: even when the effects are obviously a post-production addition, you have to admire the company’s ambition. Equally impressive is Ryan Alexander Dewar’s editing of these shorts, with the sound editing in particular bringing the socially-distant actors together in an almost seamless fashion.
The time and effort put into editing SceneToSeen shines through, and Interabang Productions have earned their title as both a theatre and film company. This is a company brimming with talent, and they are not going to let a pandemic hold them back.
The ScenetoSeen series is available to watch here