Review: Cells 2 (Metta Theatre, online)

Moving on from the first Cells web series, produced during lockdown, Metta Theatre have returned with the sequel, Cells 2.

We left JoJo (Lem Knights) and his new found friend Neil (Clive Rowe) dealing with the revelation they were son and father, and this new set of episodes – all sung through – has the same blend of awkwardness, humour and pathos.

“A life worth of silence instead”. How many dads have been frozen out of their children’s life and then have to rebuild that relationship? Cells 2 deals with the journey as JoJo bonds with his new-found dad, while reaching his own maturity.

Screencap from Cells 2

Rowe and Natalie Hope give beautiful performances as the parents seperated by circumstance, trying to reconnect 19 years later. She is prickly, threatened, defensive; he just wants to prove he isn’t a “bad man”.

Written and directed by P Burton-Morgan with music by Ben Glasstone, this online musical continues blend familiar conversation with the story-songs to push the plot along.

The chemistry between performers is strong, and although the locations are mostly interiors this time around, it fits the more intimate theme. We are not so concerned with ethical issues this time round.

Screencap from Cells 2

Voice messages and bonding drinks feature, while mum misses her boy while she scrubs the sink. It’s a fascinating watch, beautifully conveyed.

Solo and duo episodes lead up to the final resolution, which leaves the door a little ajar for Cells 3. At just short of half an hour, this latest series covers a lot of ground but never feels false or forced.

I look forward to joining this newly-blended family for another instalment of Cells.

In the meantime you can catch up with both series on Metta Theatre’s YouTube channel.