Chris Mayo with additional material by Owen Llewelyn
Directed by Garrett Millerick
Pros: Mostly confident and nuanced performances with a set that perfectly augments the creepy atmosphere of an odd ball’s flat.
Cons: Whether this was the tale of a psychopath, a farce of a horror flick or simply just a farce, was a little unclear. Whatever it was, it went from quirky, awkward and mildly amusing to dark and tedious all too quickly.
Our Verdict: Perhaps aiming for down right outrageous, the script fails when it introduces both pathetic and sympathetic elements in the two lead characters. This detracts from the comedic intention as it attempts to instill a layer of depth that isn’t really there, making the play feel more laborious than funny.
|Courtesy of The Leicester Square Theatre|
I would award this production two stars if I could judge it on my preferences alone, so do note that this review is heavily coloured by the fact that I just did not like this show, mostly because it was not my cup of tea. However, the writing, while not entirely honed, was skilled and well-crafted and the cast delivered fully fleshed, interesting characters. I found the plot quite silly (though entirely creepy and suspenseful, which was probably the point). However it could read very well to a different sense of humour.
Ed, an oddball owner of a North London flat, rents out his spare room to a ‘reserved’, anxiety disorder sufferer, Charlie. Ed, who immediately gives off a stranger danger vibe, likes drinking, drugs and women, enjoys a good gardening magazine and loves his mum who is dead (we think). Charlie, likes music and his girlfriend who, incidentally, does not like games and should not drink. It’s a match made in hell, which Charlie realises immediately. As he tries to escape to a dinner celebration with his girlfriend Rachael, Ed informs him he must wait for a package which should arrive between 10am and 6pm. In the time that passes, Ed and Charlie get to know each other through a game of ‘Eye Spy’, a round of Snap and over a bowl of pea stew, Ed’s mother’s recipe. As they learn each other’s secrets, the whole scene unravels into a debauched couple of hours that does not end well.
While the play started off with light humour, the quick downward spiral into drugs and porn with forced overdoses and dramatic speeches, felt far too abrupt. While there is the potential for such a balance between dark content and comedic affect to create something that is intricate, reflective and maybe even enlightening, the combination in this case did not quite come together effectively.
Chris Mayo as Charlie played an excellent straight man to Owen Llewelyn’s Ed, a man living entirely in his own world, while desperately wanting to join the the real one. However, Llewelyn, though convincing in his role, seemed slightly unsure in the skin of the character – which could very well be a good thing!
While not my idea of a pleasant evening at the theatre, this is mostly a well-crafted and well directed production (minus some weak and perhaps under rehearsed stage fighting). This show introduces a new and obviously ambitious collaboration to the fringe circuit.
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Between Ten and Six runs at the Leicester Square Theatre until 20 April 2013.
Box office: 0844 8733433 or book online at http://www.leicestersquaretheatre.com/home