Paul Johnson | 28 Sep 2011 14:47pm
I made my first trip to South London Theatre last Tuesday. Upon entering the building I was greeted by some very friendly front of house members and lead past the main auditorium to Prompt Corner where Laura Wade’s Breathing Corpses would be presented. The acting space is tiny; with the set on the floor of the room with about 50 seats around it. I was surprised to see 30 people turn up on a weeknight and this put me in high expectations of what was to come. This theatre company certainly did not disappoint. From the title Breathing Corpses and photo on the programme, I expected something macabre but upon watching I realised it’s about people’s reactions to finding a dead body, and more specifically how this experience could affect one’s relationships and future outlook. Amy Wells (Amy) displayed a wonderful innocence and naÃ¯veté as a hotel maid/waitress who finds a dead body in a hotel room she has come to clean. She truly had me captivated from start to finish and is to be commended for excellently delivering a difficult opening monologue. Perfectly balanced between sweet and sombre, Wells hit her comedic lines with just the right timing. John Irvine (Jim) and Juliet Holden (Elaine) both turned in fine acting performances as husband and wife owners of a storage rental facility; with Holden also delivering especially clear and well projected vocal work. Irvine was a bit slow to make an impact, but he truly came into his own in his second scene after his character has found the dead body of a girl in a box in one of his storage units. Stephen Glover (Ray) was engaging as the assistant and turned in some lovely facial expressions and gestures which brought innocence, light-heartedness and subtle comedy to his character. Fiona Gallacher (Kate) and Paul Vaughan Evans (Ben) worked well together in their sadistically charged scene of emotionally and physically abused lovers. The high acting standard and thought that went into preparation of this scene especially shone throughout and both actors are to be commended for this, as well as the fight director Anton Krause. Paul Vaughan Evans especially displayed brilliant subtlety and presented a multi-layered character which I was in fact moved by. I’m only sorry there weren’t more scenes written for this character, as Evans gave an outstanding performance. Last but certainly not least, Daniel Bird (Charlie) gave a wonderfully crafted performance as the murderer (whom we at first think is a dead body – the actor has been laying under a sheet on the hotel bed from the opening of the play!). He is to be applauded for great energy and pace in his delivery, and for keeping us on the edge of our seats right ’til the end. The cast were undoubtedly in the capable hands of their director, Mark Bullock, who clearly understood the text well and thus presented a fine ensemble production. The set was minimal yet practical, and made up of two main playing areas which served as the hotel, storage unit facility and apartment. The lighting was well designed and there were no ‘dark spots’. Overall, this was a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment and I hope to see more from SLT soon. Next up is The Merchant of Venice, which runs from 4th to 8th October 2011, and if it the standard is anything like Breathing Corpses you won’t want to miss it!
- : admin
- : 20/09/2011