Sunday, 13 July 2014

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me @ Joshua Brooks, 08.07.14

It is said that if you knew when you'd die you'd go mad. But the madness of not knowing when you can live again is itself a form of death. That's what an Irishman, and Englishman and an American find out when they're imprisoned by unseen terrorists with unknown motives for an indefinite amount of time in Frank McGuinness' play Someone Who'll Watch Over Me.

First on stage were Adam (Alastair Gillies) and Edward (Richard Patterson), who make up the American and Irish contingent respectively. Their sniping, fighting and friendship had a real feel of brotherliness; the actors have a clear chemistry. Their ragged appearance seemed real, and the physical interactions between them felt threatening, a result of strong performances and good direction. However, the arrival of Englishman Michael (Karl Seth) upset this symbiotic relationship somewhat, and from here on the play never quite regained its momentum, with Michael pitched perhaps a little too old-world-English for believability.

The basement of Joshua Brooks was the perfect location for Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, which is set in a squalid prison (make of that what you will). The bare brick walls and metal roof were well dressed and lit, and Colin Connor's directorial choice to leave the actors lying on display in their cell during the interval engendered further audience investment in the story.

The play, first produced in 1991, is of the wordy kind that strives for atmosphere rather than realism, where dialogue is a diatribe rather than a direct depiction of existence. Obviously the play has been a success, but it felt like it might not have aged terribly well - it is overwrought and overly earnest without offering enough insight to justify being either of those things. The performances of Gillies and Patterson were strong, the atmosphere convincing, but the material itself did not quite work to my mind. However if you're into dark, paranoid pieces then this might well be your thing.

Words: Andrew Anderson

Image: Shay Rowan

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