Category Archives: Theatre

Review A Good Clean Heart, The Other Room by Eifion Ap Cadno

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Normally at this point I have the show’s programme at my side, hastily scribbled notes filling the pages. These are what I refer to when writing a review.

This time however the programme is unusually pristine.

Once the lights dimmed and the action began my notes stopped. I gave myself over to the story of two brothers separated from an early age.

An actor and musician, playwright Alun Saunders’ has an excellent grasp on narrative.

It is Hefin’s eighteenth birthday, and today he finds out he is adopted and has a brother, Jay, who has been trying to make contact for some time now. The play is a mostly unbroken journey through this revelatory day in the lives of Hefin and Jay, raised in Wales and London respectively.

Spoken in both Welsh and English, the cohesion is admirable as we flit between brothers, languages and countries. We are transported in an instant out of a Welsh classroom into the streets of London and back again. The sense of place could easily be shattered, but “when” is so clearly defined two worlds exist on stage in harmony.

A bilingual play, Alun explores the relationship between language, culture and identity. Do we protect them, or do they protect us? Alun asks “what happens and how do any of us react when the rug is pulled from under us?” I could relate to Hefin when in Welsh class he cursed in English; and in London he’d fall into Welsh. We hold onto the things that define us, but they shift all the time.

If you, like me, don’t speak Welsh, do not worry! This was never an issue: the translation of both languages is projected as subtitles onto the set. It was interesting to read these and have the Welsh-speaking audience members react to the delivery of the spoken word.

Designed by Erin Maddocks, the set features a metallic frame playground, a swing and two rubber tyres. The floor is covered in wood chippings – funny how wood chippings can conjure up so many memories. It looks harsh, industrial and unforgiving, but is endlessly malleable. Every location is clearly defined as my imagination is invited to fill out empty spaces and populate the stage. But wherever we are taken and however the brothers interact with the set, it remains rooted in childhood. Its juxtaposition with adulthood is powerful. The two brothers, aged eighteen and twenty-five, often feel like – and sometimes become – children. It is unnerving to witness things that shouldn’t, but nonetheless do, belong in the playground.

The lighting and video design by Katy Morison and Zakk Hein respectively is effective, helping realise and define each new world. Projections throw graffiti, Facebook messages, emails, and handwritten letters against walls. Blurred, evocative footage sends us hurtling around on red double-deckers. The simple use of a phone’s torchlight on a dark stage pushes us into the hidden recesses of a room. One particularly special moment saw the brothers in a whirlwind of light and sound in a short-lived, slick chase scene.

Sound Designer Dyfan Jones opens the play with pumping dance music – one note I did manage was “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat”. It feels more like a soundtrack to a Welsh teenage boy’s life than an actual creed. The music we choose shapes our identity, and it is a joy to hear Dizzee Rascal’s “Bonkers” sung first in English, then in Welsh.

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Dorian Simpson (Jay) and James Ifan (Hefin)

The two performances are spellbinding. James Ifan and Dorian Simpson play Hefin and Jay respectively, but also narrate and perform all other characters. Dorian is especially skilful at capturing the essence, behaviours and movement of others. James takes us on his rollercoaster of emotion from start to finish; and the two have an irresistible confidence and together they will melt your heart and charm your socks off.

Director Mared Swain ensures none of the humour in Alun’s writing escapes – it is a surprisingly funny play about adoption. She orchestrates a complex, technically sophisticated production, and pulls all the right heartstrings.

The third and final instalment in The Other Room’s ‘Life In Close-Up’ season, A Good Clean Heart is a highly sensitive and enjoyable exploration of identity, fraternal love, and what it means to be someone new.

As if they hadn’t done enough, the good people at The Other Room gave everyone a Chomp bar on the way out. It was Chomplimentary.

On until May 16th, be sure to pick up your ticket from their website www.otherroomtheatre.com

Do not miss this!

Photos by Pallasca Photography

Review A Good Clean Heart, The Other Room by James Knight

 

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Photo by Pallasca Photography

Alun Saunders’ A Good Clean Heart, produced by The Other Room is very much a play for the modern age. It concerns two brothers, Hefin (James Ifan), a teenage wannabe rugby player from Carmarthen, and Jay (Dorian Simpson), a black man from London currently under house arrest, who were separated at childhood and raised apart. Throughout the hour runtime we see their correspondences; their emails, their texts, their letters projected onto the set as they track each other down and arrange to meet. It is a play about words, the limitations of words, the limitations of Welsh, the insular nature of both Wales and London, the bi-lingual breakdown of two societies clashing. The play, in both Welsh and English with the different subtitles running on a screen above the actors highlights the difference in hearing and reading the two languages. Bi-lingual audience members laugh and respond to certain moments whilst non-Welsh speakers respond to different sequences creating a very personal and subjective viewing experience.

A Good Clean Heart is essentially a showcase for the small moments in life, an exhibition of memories and family conversations. It is also an exhibition of performances. Theatre throughout its history has been about actors hiding, actors losing themselves behind the masks of their characters, but that is not the case here. Refreshingly, Ifan and Simpson stay true to their own voices and manage to portray characters straight out of life, it’s as if they are living life right before our very eyes. Ifan brilliantly captures the awkwardness of his character whilst Simpson is not only utterly convincing as Jay, but also manages to bring to fruition through mimic the characters of his girlfriend and mother as if they were there on the stage with him. But most impressively, the duo are not just acting opposite each other, but acting very much in unison as one, despite the fact that their characters come from such different worlds, as Jay, ambiguous to Wales states, ‘Port Talbot; sounds posh.’

The intimacy of the Other Room Theatre at Porter’s gives the production a vitality and realness, whilst the wonderfully designed setting of a dingy playground representing the character’s forgotten childhood adds a potency to the atmosphere. Watching A Good Clean Heart is almost a physical experience, it’s a roller coaster of a play where the actors pour sweat and so do the audience. The story jumps forward in time without an interval or any set alterations and there’s an extraordinarily comic running sequence that needs to be seen to be admired. Although at times there is too much freneticism, too much information to take in and too few moments where the play is allowed to breathe, but that should not take anything away from the overall effectiveness and thoughtfulness of the production. A Good Clean Heart has a bit of everything, the characters sing, rap, dance, cry, argue, jump about, laugh, shout, and most importantly; love.

A Good Clean Heart

Written by Alun Saunders

Directed by Mared Swain

Part of The Other Room Theatre’s ‘Life in Close-Up’ season.

Tickets:

1 – 16 May

7.30pm

£12.50/10.50 conc.

£5 tickets available for jobseekers (proof of status required).

Review A Good Clean Heart, The Other Room By Rebecca Hobbs

Alun Saunders –A Good Clean Heart

I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself.
So I, to find a mother and a brother,

In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.

(The Comedy of Errors I.ii.33)

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Dorian Simpson (Jay) and James Ifan (Hefin)

Credit:Pallasca photography

At a time of political uncertainty as the 2015 election looms ever closer, Alun Saunders’ bilingual play A Good Clean Heart, presented by The Other Room could not be more relevant to its contemporary moment. Welsh manifestos are overridden with promises in relation to the promotion and savouring of the Welsh language, its place in education and our culture. Plaid Cymru wave the banner for our nation, striving to give Wales its own identity but what is it exactly that defines that nationality? I am not a Welsh speaker and yet I pride myself on being Welsh.

Reviving the sibling separation motif of Shakespearean comedy, A Good Clean Heart addresses these difficult questions regarding our cultural and personal identity through the story of two brothers raised in different cultures and familial environments; Hefin (James Ifan) adopted in Wales, well-educated and a first-language Welsh speaker and Jay (Dorian Simpson) trapped in the foster system having never had the opportunity to make the best of himself, living in London with his biological mother (who he was initially taken from) after doing a stint in jail.

Rather than moving the story towards the pastoral as Shakespearean comedy anticipates, Saunders inverts the motif and the green world is thrust into the city as Hefin is finally told on his eighteenth birthday of a brother who has been reaching out to him for years. Immediately, in a moment of spontaneity, he heads to London for the long-awaited – on Jay’s part – reunion. For Hefin, the Welsh language is an intrinsic part of who he is, even his career prospects are defined by his national identity. Along with the discovery of his English roots, despite the brothers’ almost instantaneous fraternal bond, they struggle to come to terms with the years and opportunities they have missed. The reunited family home is thrown into chaos and brings disastrous consequences.

The sincerity in Saunders script is particularly moving. The developing relationship between Hefin and Jay is sensitive and intuitive and both actors shine in their juxtaposed roles. Dorian Simpson as Jay is loveable and endearing despite these challenging assumptions he adopts as the brother who was left behind and his Welsh counterpart James Ifan comically captures the stereotypically sheltered and innocent character of a boy growing up in rural Wales. Both Dorian and James’s ability to jump between characters playing their mother and her current boyfriend is effortless and a nice touch which invokes that movement of identity.

The play’s separation and re-unification motif is rejuvenated through Erin Maddocks’s transformation of the room into a playground, a moment of nostalgia that revives the boys lost childhood. Mared Swain’s visual interpretation of language through projections and screen is creative and original as the script literally bounces off the walls, bringing to life that movement of language. The tech team really have their work cut out!

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A funny, moving and thought-provoking play that brings a new accessibility to a bilingual narrative. A perfect way to round-up the ‘Life in Close Up’ season in the capital city of Wales.

Review Mermaid, Shared Experience, Sherman Theatre by Rebecca Hobbs

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Miranda Mac Letten, Amaka Okafor, Sarah Twomey, Ritu Arya and Polly Frame

Photography by Robert Day

 Writer and director Polly Teale’s Mermaid dives into the realm of feminist fairytales, embellishing the script with metaphors about finding a voice or a sense of self and struggling to break away from the the media’s artificial construct of beauty.  In a cross between the Angela Carter esque allusions to blood stained sheets and the mutilation of Lavinia in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, the Little Mermaid’s rite of passage into a woman is a far cry from Hans Christian Anderson’s childhood classic.

Beneath the ocean waves, life is not tarnished by the modern world’s inflictions and agendas. It is simple and carefree but the human world is too excessive in drumming its disillusioning message into us with the Prince whose post traumatic stress mirrors drowning, a cyber bullying attack and a media exposed bulimia case.  The little mermaid’s transition into a woman is witnessed by both the audience and a chorus of young girls didactically onlooking and partaking from the side of the stage, joining in the siren’s song.

Beautifully choreographed by Liz Ranken, the mermaids fluid movements are mesmerising. They do not need the shimmering tail to glide over the waves. The Little Mermaid’s (Sarah Twomey) movement is exquisite and her counterpart Blue (Natalie Gavin) balances this well with a heartfelt spoken performance. The calculated three-headed sea witch (Ritu Arya, Miranda Mac Letten and Amaka Okafor) is grossly captivating and the cast all really embrace this unusual merging of both physical and text-based theatre.

The symbiotic relationship between Blue and the Little Mermaid, Anderson’s tale and a contemporary growing up narrative feels somewhat hazy. I found that the production drowned out the script and because of this the complexity of what the script is trying to do is drowned out but this new material’s originality and ambition shows huge potential. A brave and inspired retelling.

Review I Need a Doctor – The Whosical by Hannah Goslin

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In the quaint basement of the Leicester Square Theatre, a minimal set with popular dance songs relating to Doctor Who (the worldwide Sci Fi show by the BBC) or in relation to the name, played as we entered – a box like structure the centre piece, covered in a black sheet.

This comedic yet purposefully amateur staged production brings the story of two die-hard Doctor Who fans, attempting to put on a short musical summing up 50 years of the story. Due to copyright and their failure at getting the BBC and key figures involved, they are thrown into a turmoil, but with a sense that the show must go on. This leads to ropey costumes, doubling up of characters and ultimately chaos.

With the intimate nature of this small space, the addition to the rejection of the celebrities added a form of comedy – the thought of them saying yes being less likely in such a scenario. It also brought a sense of connection with the audience, however there was a lack of interaction with the audience that could have been utilised very easily.

The story itself referred to many key concepts and repetitions in the show as well as references to West End and popular musicals – this was cleverly done in musical form with the accompaniment of a keyboard player using all the standard synthesised music on a keyboard, adding to the amateur feel that they had tried to express, and through moments of scripted descriptions of audience opinions of the show – for example, stating that they have arrived on another planet that for once does not look similar to a part of Cardiff – The show well-known to be filmed in this location.

These moments provided side-splitting comedic moments along with the changes of names of characters, locations and props in order to avoid the copyright law. Their way of tripping over these sudden changes, again, were very funny and continuously surprising with their intelligent substitutes.

With only two cast members (three if counting the keyboard player) their relationship on stage gave them the ability to bounce of each other and convincingly at times to fool us into believing that there were problems and real arguments over the chaotic changes.

Overall, this small and definitely hilarious show is something to watch. More suited to recent fans, there was a lack of more references to pre-2005 classical Doctor Who and so may lose older fans. However, those who enjoy the entire 50 years, theatre in general and/or musical theatre specifically will find something that will hold their attention and give them a fun experience.

Review These Trees are Made of Blood Theatre Bench Southwark Playhouse

Greg Barnett as The General in These Trees are Made of Blood. Photo Credit Darren Bell

My first time at the Southwark Playhouse, I was pleasantly surprised by the kitsch, unusual look of the place yet it’s homely feel. By spending time in this atmosphere, entering the performance space was a complete change of juxtaposition.

We entered a small and quaint little mismatched cabaret club. Music bellowed from the live band on stage and we were invited to sit around and in-between the action, such as one would at a club such as this.

The performance started before we even entered – the band already in full swing, cabaret acts performing in between the chairs and tables, the audience manoeuvring themselves throughout this world.

The narrative of this production was of the missing children in Argentina during the 1970’s and 80’s of which was the fault of the corrupt government but involving the viewpoint’s of both the corrupt and of the family’s that lost their loved ones.

For such a political and tough historical story, it was such an interesting take to create a cabaret club. The timeline of one mother and daughter and what the government had done to them was experienced through song, burlesque, magic and so on. Firstly, this being very comical, the realisation of the reality behind these songs and performances slowly became apparent and harder to find entertaining in the sense that normal cabaret aims to achieve.

By bringing events, both physically and vocally, we were forced to applaud these acts despite it feeling wrong to – the talk of murder, disappearance and rape; the heartache that the mother’s were feeling; the lies and the deceit of the government, all very hard topics to believe happened let alone congratulate as we would a poignant or entertaining piece of performance. This idea was perfect – to feel the shame and the sadness of this truth and to be forced as these victims possibly were was very cleverly executed.

Alexander Luttley in These Trees Are Made of Blood. Photo Credit Darren Bell

The performers themselves threw every skill into this production. Not a moment was lost and an evidence of trust within this hard-hitting story was present. By ending it such a heartbreaking way, showing us images of those missing and speaking through song about the sorrow that women who march still to this day for their loved ones feel, not only were there tears in the audience, but the tears and pain in the actors faces who could be congratulated as astonishing acting. However, it is my belief that these moments were more small glimpses into the feelings of the performers themselves. Training says that moments like this can destroy what pretence has been created, but this only brought more to the performance in showing how dedicated and moved they were for the narrative, and much respect gained for all those involved in the entire performance.

What makes this performance even more special is the abundance of Welsh performers and creatives. Ranging from Cardiff, to Pontypool and Swansea, it’s a continued selection of evidence the sheer talent that this country produces – and bringing this to London – a huge ocean of theatre – to see it striving as well as it has, in such a perfect location, brings much pride to myself as the London Correspondent for Young Critics Wales knowing how talented Welsh artists can be.

REVIEW: Moira Buffini’s ‘Blavatsky’s Tower’ 3 Crate Productions, Chapter by Sam Pryce

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The effects of social isolation have never been more relevant in today’s oh-so-social digital world. With social media companies swallowing more and more of our personal data, it’s certainly the right time to revisit a play that asks why a father might lock up his family in a top-floor flat, away from that world and the ‘crushed’ that live in it. Such a play is this 1998 work from the English playwright Moira Buffini: a tragicomic tale, ‘Blavatsky’s Tower’. Revived by the exuberant folks at 3 Crate Productions, the resonating themes and jet-black humour of ‘Blavatsky’s Tower’ are unmistakably relevant.

On the twenty-fifth floor of an ugly tower block, the ‘architect and visionary’ Hector Blavatsky, now blind and close to dying, lives with his three children – Roland, an embittered, resentful young boy engaged in writing his ‘Theory of the Universe’ whilst rotting his brain with hours of television; Ingrid, a sensitive girl who obediently takes note of each of Blavatsky’s bizarre visions; and Audrey, the only family member who has ever ventured outside the house (and has clearly become ‘crushed’ by it too). When Audrey brings home an aloof Dr. Tim Dunn to help her dwindling father, the true damage done to these children by such isolation becomes clear. The play reaches dark conclusions about family ties and how the society in which we live affects our treatment of others.

As dark and odd a tale it may sound, it is also very funny. Moira Buffini’s playful style means that the darkest moments are handled with rib-tickling absurdity, occasionally too much. In this play, it seems Buffini’s crowd-pleasing sense of humour cannot reach its full potential due to the rather bleak subject matter in ‘Blavatsky’s Tower’. Her style is much more suited to the sell-out, West End farces like Handbagged and Dinner for which she is now known, performed to packed-out theatres and five-star reviews. So, regardless of all the loose-ends that are left dangling here, this play is undoubtedly entertaining.

Under Peter Scott’s direction, those moments of bleak farce are elevated, making for a painfully funny evening. And this is thanks in no small part to the consistently good troupe of actors on show. Emma McNab and Hannah Lloyd have a humorous rivalry as the sisters, Ingrid and Audrey, which soon swells into a near-homicidal contempt for the other. Ben Tinniswood has a suitably aloof air as Dr. Tim Dunn, delivering his funniest lines with a dazzling command of timing. A lot of the raucous laughter though is down to Tom Hurley as Roland, comically frantic and poisonous in manner. Finally, Anthony Leader adds some theatrical class to the evening as Blavatsky, portraying him as a Prospero-like figure, highlighting both the menacing and the moving aspects of an old man aware that this is not his world anymore.

A lot of fun is had in this production – a lot of water spilt, a lot of bellies tickled, even a yoghurt pot flew into the audience at one point. But beneath the laughter, there sits a truly dark message about human nature in an enclosed space. Take a trip up to Blavatsky’s Tower if this sounds like your sort of thing. Oh, and by the way, take the stairs.

 

‘Blavatsky’s  Tower’ is at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff until 11th April.

REVIEW: Howard Barker’s The Dying of Today The Other Room, Cardiff by Sam Pryce

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This second course in Kate Wasserberg’s ‘Life in Close Up’ season at Porter’s was a little hard to swallow, especially after the resounding success of the previous production: Sarah Kane’s unforgettable play, Blasted. Kane is a hard act to follow. We all know that. But Howard Barker offers enough explosive action and quasi-philosophical drama to keep us intellectually stimulated in this seventy-minute two-hander, The Dying of Today.

Based rather obscurely on an apparently hot-blooded moment in ancient history – Thucydides’s account of the destruction of the Sicilian expedition in 413BC (don’t ask me) – Barker propounds his ‘theatre of catastrophe’ theory by showing an outbreak of crippling grief within the innocuous surroundings of a barbershop. Dneister, a sprightly customer, notifies the barber, after a flurry of ostentatious yammering, of some bad news: the barber’s son has died. What follows is the gripping breakdown and eventual transformation of the barber’s spirit. Alongside that, some thought-provoking conclusions are reached through the men’s incessant and progressively violent interaction about the nature of belief, war and death.

The problem, in my opinion, is the writing. Barker is quoted in the programme as having said that he ‘[doesn’t] think about the audience at all’ when writing. Then who is he writing for? Clearly himself. His convoluted style of dramaturgy comprises complex, meandering sentences that attempt to clarify such themes as war and belief. This, to me, leaves no room for characterisation and renders both these characters as the exact same person. The result is self-indulgent. If we take Sarah Kane’s writing (which, for me, is far superior to Barker’s), we can see how she can create fully-formed scenes and characters while still tackling big themes but distilling down to the simplest, clearest image or essence, making truly engaging drama. She can make a catastrophe clear of clouds. You may call me a philistine for badgering Barker but I think his style was unnecessarily decadent, placing style high over substance.

Saying that, a pair of riveting performances are still on offer, brought to fruition by Kate Wasserberg’s always brilliant, scrupulous direction. Leander Deeny, as the visitor burdened with bad news, blabbers to the barber with striking volatility, injecting some valued humour into tense moments. Christian Patterson excels once again as an initially reserved character before exploding into a range of fluctuating emotions. His acting is truly a pleasure to watch. I’d happily go along to any play with Patterson in the cast. The final sequence, however, of the barber reflecting on what has happened to the tune of ‘People They Ain’t No Good’ reeks of the toe-curling sentimentality of an X Factor sob story. It simply does not correlate with the play’s deeply serious and unsentimental subject matter.

Wasserberg’s second offering in this season then may not be as strong as Blasted, but there still is enough enrapturing action to keep anyone engaged.

‘The Dying of Today’ is at The Other Room in Porter’s, Cardiff until 11th April 2015

Photography by Pallasca Photography

Review The Nether, Duke of York by Hannah Goslin

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Critically acclaimed, The Nether was a show I was very eager to watch. I did not immediately decide to find the story line out, as I feel this somewhat limits the surprise at times. However, seeing advertising media about this production, it was safe to assume that it was a futuristic or technological based world from the sci-fi aesthetic.

The story is about a progression that could be argued as possible in our own future, where the internet or ‘The Nether’ is predominant. Virtual reality is very much a common realistic event. Here we see a detective, investigating the known ‘Papa’ who has created a world unlike before; with the ability to trigger the senses and make it all seem very real. The gruesome part of this is that this world lets users undertake paedophilic fantasies and yet, still be able to feel the act itself.

The set was phenomenal – a large screen took the background where video images, sound recording and so on was mixed in a collage. This rose after a computer graphic-ed outline of the virtual reality world was formed and then appeared on stage in a higher imbedded area. Papa had made this world-old fashioned – Victorian styled yet there was always a sense of this being a different world and technology fuelled.

The narrative itself is a hard one to sit through. Yet, the theatricality of it is fantastic, giving a sense of fear and uneasiness with its’ content and how likely this future could be. The actors are all brilliant. Their skills and dominance of the stage is overwhelming and also admiring to their ability to take on such a story. There was the ability to be emotional and to hit us with this, but also naturalism; the characters could have been as real as the person walking by you in the street, which, for a production about virtual reality and a future world, it would seem strange to be so natural in.

Overall, I enjoyed this taboo busting production. In the middle of a section of theatre land where you would expect to see mostly musicals and popular plays, something that really contrasts to this is a breath of fresh air. You come away in awe but also with a sense that you should not have enjoyed it due to the content, but you cannot help but admire the guts to put on such a hard hitting production. And surely, this is an area of theatre that should be more prominent in the West End.

Review The Dying of Today The Other Room by Kaitlin Wray

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The Other Room opens its second production in its ‘Life in Close Up’ season at  Porters pub Cardiff. After the success of ‘Blasted’ by Sarah Kane a few weeks earlier, ‘The Dying of Today’ by Howard Barker was a perfect follow up for this season of plays.

Set in a 1960’s Barbers shop with only two actors. It was a great reenactment of Howard Barker’s work showcasing his creativity and his poet-like writing. The music, playing at the beginning, contextualised this scene and brought us straight into the barbers room while he was cutting the travellers hair. It’s exciting when you see a play that can change your mind and educate you into a whole new wavelength of conversations and the beauty at hearing ‘bad news’ can have. The traveller in this play is excited at the prospect of giving bad news, his excuse, “I think men are more beautiful flung down than standing up”. This line of thought caught my attention completely and made this play conform to the ‘Life in Close Up’ season theme.

Directed by Kate Wasserberg, she knew just how to present Barker’s work for the Other Room’s Theatre stage. The originality in some of the directing choices was inspiring. The symbolism of a small pawn chess piece representing the barbers son drew the audience into the story even more. Every time the Barber picked up the chess piece we knew instantly what he was thinking and found ourselves believing that one small chess piece was his son at war. Moreover Kate expanded the relationship between two strangers into something beautiful. When the Barber puts on his shoes for the lonely traveller towards the end of the show it was heartbreaking. Personally it felt like the Barber was adopting the traveller like his son. In the space of their hours conversation, meeting for the first time, those two characters shared something so big that they would forever have a connection, (good or bad) and thats due to the bringing of bad news.

Leander Deeny, showcases the traveller that is visibly excited at the prospect of giving bad news. Leander was engaging from the beginning and with his elevated mannerisms he created a strong character. For the first five minutes he solely takes the stage speaking of bad news while the Barber just listens. There wasn’t one moment when I felt my mind wander when he spoke, he completely had the audience in the palm of the hand. Christian Patterson, playing the Barber, takes The Other Room’s stage a second time after his success of playing the grotesque and corrupt character of Ian in Sarah Kane’s ‘Blasted’. Christian’s mannerisms at the start of ‘The Dying of Today’ were subtly engaging. As he was hearing the news from the traveller his facial expression grew more and more troubled until after not speaking for the first 5 minutes he speaks. Christians emotions goes through a whole roller coaster engaging us into his mind and his feelings. Christian was a perfect match for this character and not only did the character show how versatile he was as an actor, Christian gave the character of the Barber a thrilling stance.

Overall ‘The Dying of Today’ was a show that shouldn’t be missed, as an audience it felt like we were right there in the barber’s shop, eavesdropping on something bittersweet. The presence the actors had on stage should be admired for aspiring actors and if you want to see how two people can effortlessly own the whole stage then you need to watch this.

I’m thrilled and excited to see the final show ‘A Good Clean Heart’ in the Other Room Theatre of ‘Life in Close Up’.