Review, Castle Rock, Massive Owl, Battersea Arts Centre by Hannah Goslin

Back at the Battersea Arts Centre, it seems with their jam packed season, they may as well provide a bed for me! A busy season is always fantastic with the different art that is created and performed here.

The company Massive Owl have travelled from Bristol for their one night show Castle Rock, based upon the Stephen King  novella The Body and the 1986 film Stand By Me.  We see the character of Ray and his enthusiasm for boxing but with the need to feel invincible.  This narrative evokes a technical and physical abstract show showcasing the stage in his life and events that pass.

However, I came away not being a huge fan.  The performance was at one, slow pace for the hour duration, feeling a lot longer, and not in a positive way. I kept waiting for something to happen, to get fast paced, to change the dynamics, a shock twist but nothing did. Arguably there was a small crescendo nearer the end but it felt displaced.

Technically – the use of projection, microphones and a loop peddle was interesting and added some interest to the stage presence. Not to rely on prerecording always shows a new talent to a production.

Majority of the production saw physical theatre, which I’m always a fan of. And you could see what they were trying to achieve but unfortunately it just did not hit the peak. While what was enjoyable was a little bit of comedy from the character of Ray from his dialogue which was witty without needing a huge monologue to get there. He had a twinkle in his eye that felt could have been harnessed more.

Castle Rock felt very much still in a scratch phase and with guidance needed to hone what the company wanted to achieve. However, any artist can see the hard work and direction they wanted to go and that in itself is something to commend.

 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

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