The Rose and Crown, Kentish Town
If you knew the world was going to end and you had some time to plan, who would you choose to save? Well, let me assure you I would not save the gentleman (I use the term very loosely) who sat in a tiny venue to see Daylight munching and rustling a bag of crisps and spent much of the show on WhatsApp without a single consideration for anyone around him, not to mention the cast and crew. Ugh.
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way, Daylight tells the story of Julie (Lara Cosmetatos) who knows the end of the world is coming and her friend Conor (Isaac Allen) who has prepared his mother’s basement for them to try and survive. There are just hours before the end and they are making their final preparations, worrying about what they know is to come. They wait for Rachel, Julie’s partner, to arrive and join them to endure the apocalypse – though Rachel doesn’t know any of this.
The entire story is told in a small room, in a literal and metaphorical basement, and so we rely heavily on the cast to bring the backstory into play. Why is the world ending, how did they prepare and most of all, how do they know the world is going to end at a certain time? Written, directed, and produced (with sound design I think I heard her say afterwards) by Helena Coggan, her writing smartly touches on friendship, faith and madness, interrogating the actions and choices of her characters. The script is particularly good at showing us the core strength of the relationship between Julie and the never seen Rachel, as told to us by Conor.
While both are good, there feels a striking contrast between our two actors, Cosmetatos and Allen; it feels like both have different approaches. Allen gives a very traditional trained actor performance and is very accomplished. Cosmetatos feels more natural, although her performance suffers from her speaking extremely quietly; I struggled to hear her at more than one point. She is particularly strong at chunks of exposition and bringing the backstory of how they ended up in this situation to light.
Being downstairs in a basement under the Rose and Crown is both a blessing and a curse for this performance. The room looks the part – small and dark with cables, switches, random electronics and proper sturdy lighting. As we descend a small, steep, dark staircase to find the production, all this fits so nicely with the atmosphere of Daylight. But then we can hear so much going on in the pub upstairs. There’s laughter and music and all of a sudden our dark, intense basement with just two people feels a lot louder. Still, at Camden Fringe, a bit of a make-do ethos is part of the give and take.
Daylight is a well-written piece of work, which will clearly become more confident as its run continues. As to who would I choose to save, well given I’m about to ask my better half to read my review first… I suppose I best pick her! 🙂
Written, produced and directed by: Helena Coggan
Daylight played at Rose and Crown as part of Camden Fringe. The show will next play at Edinburgh Fringe 15-28 August. Further information and bookings can be found here.