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Posts Tagged ‘Francesca Reidy’

Neil LaBute is one of the few modern writers I’ve yet to really get; he always seems too cynical, even for a cynic like me! I’ve tried hard with four of his plays, but fail to see what many others seems to see. Is he my modern Chekov or Pinter?

I never saw the first outing of this play 10 years ago and haven’t seen the film, so I come to this ‘site specific’ revival in an art gallery cold. Though the first scene takes place in an art gallery, I’m not sure that’s enough reason for staging it in one. It does achieve real intimacy, but I’m not convinced you couldn’t achieve that in a small studio theatre without a sore bum or aching back and legs.

Despite this, it’s the first LaBute play I’ve found fully satisfying. It’s difficult to describe without spoiling it for anyone who might like to go – and you should. An unlikely couple meet in an art gallery and a whirlwind romance develops. This later intertwines with another couple – the man’s best friend and his ex, now the best friend’s fiancée. There’s a terrific twist (which I never saw coming) that takes us to a deeper and fascinating discussion. I found it intriguing and compelling. Maybe I’ve at last got LaBute?

Young company Rhapsody of Words has done an excellent job staging it at The Gallery Soho – director Tom Attenborough (yes, the latest in the dynasty) and set, lighting, sound and video design team of Francesca Reidy, Joshua Carr, Victoria Wilkinson and Camilla Cadier. The use of video was excellent, the soundtrack highly effective and the simple white space was beautifully lit. Performance wise, I was particularly impressed by Andrew Nolan, who has a difficult journey as Adam, having to make a believable transformation that’s crucial to the success of the play. He was well supported by Lucy Marks (who came into her own at the denouement), Edward Rowett and Katy Marks.

The performance I attended was only the second preview, but it was in good shape and I suspect it will grow through the run. I’m looking forward to seeing much more from this company, though maybe in a seat next time?.

 

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