by Richard Hurford.
Theatre Royal Studio St Leonard’s Place YO1 7HD To 5 June 2010.
21, 2, 26-29 May, 1-5 June 7.45pm Mat 5 June 2pm.
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 01904 523568.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 20 May.
The fame game gets discussed.
Richard Hurford’s new play invokes one of American literature’s most famous recluses. Like Holden Caulfield in J D Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Mark Chapman sees himself as catching and saving the people let-down by phonies.
And, like Caulfield, Chapman brings a prostitute to his New York hotel-room. Unlike Salinger’s character, Chapman was a real figure, and this is the night before he’s to enter history by shooting former Beatle John Lennon.
As he sways his gun in Sunny’s view and tries to tie her in to his plans, it’s clear Chapman also has most of Hollywood in his sights – all the famous who’ve betrayed people’s trust by not living-up to their artistic personae.
He’s the man with the ideas, she’s the one just trying to do her job. He explains how Lennon’s betrayed the trust millions put in him, she’s ecstatic to learn Chapman, apparently, knows the icon.
But, if fame’s the only game, and can include the infamous, what about the merely non-famous? Chapman, the old 1960s hotel TV tells in a 2010 broadcast epilogue, remains in prison, parole denied for his own safety. But Sunny (only the name he gives her), despite introducing and ending the play, has disappeared. That’s what Chapman tells her. Walk out on him and his gun and you’re no-one.
Only if you accept Chapman’s view, or bother about these things. Some do – and always have done; an early Chekhov anecdote describes a young man enthused by having his name in the paper, even if it’s just reporting his court appearance. And trash-fame’s certainly grown wider since 1980, if only because of the multiplying media mouths to fill.
Director Suzann McLean contributes an enthusiastic programme-note. If her production had half its energy it would be a livelier evening. That’s unfair; half the energy is just about what it does have. While Mitzi Jones catches a prostitute’s automatic body-language the dialogue’s only surface deep. Ronan Summers has the energy of obsessive logic. Throughout, there’s little sense of subtext or life beyond the words, leaving things loaded with ideas yet never triggering them into life.
Sunny: Mitzi Jones.
Mark: Ronan Summers.
Director: Suzann McLean.
Designer: Lydia Denno.
Lighting: Chris Randall.
8 June 8.30pm New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich 01473 295900 www.pulsefringe.co.uk
9-11 June Clocktower Croydon 020 8253 1030 www.croydonclocktower.org.uk