Friday, October 07, 2011
Theatre West's autumn season of new writing inspired by locational photographs under the umbrella title Picture This has opened at Alma Tavern Theatre with The Darkroom by Steve Lambert. The play's title is both literally a place where secrets on film are revealed and metaphorically the murky recesses of human minds, individually and culturally. It's 1949 and all three characters hold sinister secrets from their wartime past which will blitz the fragile semblance of calm as one by one they are relentless detonated. In fact that's the main problem: the play effectively evokes the emotional austerity of post-war England, superficially subdued but seething with unresolved trauma, but a determination to include so many dark revelations ultimately overloaded the plot with twists at the expense of character empathy. Duncan Bonner as William brought stature and gravitas to the role of the double-agent who re-enters a troubled marital relationship to stir up the past; the production was directed with sensitivity by Pameli Benham.
Maxwell Golden is the most exciting theatre I've seen for a long time. Maxwell opens the show as hi-energy MC Vibe-wire, setting the scene with clever free-styling (and a chance for local poets too - Muriel Lavender and I were both immensely thrilled to find ourselves adding verisimilitude to his open-mic sequence) before introducing us to hip-hop rapper 'Countryboy' Michael. Then the journey of his struggle begins - with a wonderfully lyrical poem from the womb - taking us confidently and with amazing emotional range through childhood, teens, family disputes, and adventures in London, right up to the club night we've all been sharing from the start. tour dates and hire a charabanc for your friends!
Footling footnote of the week: ever wondered which were the officially funniest gags at the Edinburgh fringe this year? Here it comes:
3: People say "I'm taking one day at a time." So is everybody. That's how time works. (Hannibal Buress)
2: Crime in multi-storey car parks - that is wrong on so many different levels. (Tim Vine)
1: I needed a password of 8 characters so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. (Nick Helm)