DARK ANGEL: Phil Preece / YESTERDAY AN INCIDENT OCCURRED: Mark Ravenhill
Letter to Eric Theatre Company
Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham
0121 212 2643
Info and BO:
Runs: 2h 15, one interval, till 24.11.12
Review: Alexander Ray
Always intriguing, flawed in parts.
Two dark plays, here, given a lively production in one of Birmingham’s few fringe venues. Both pieces are bold and brim with intriguing ideas; both feel not quite complete. But never mind, they are full of energy and commitment and I’m please to have seen them.
DARK ANGEL tells the story of Kit Marlowe, he of FAUSTUS fame (or the joys of tobacco and boys fame if you prefer). Marlowe died in suspicious circumstances while very young and at the height of his career. Rumours of involvement with Elizabeth’s secret service abound so his death is shrouded in mystery.
Preece approaches Marlowe’s possible hedonism with vigour, creates a character careering towards an untimely death; this ‘bad boy’ image is well captured in Tracey Street’s street-savvy production. Darren Haywood dons this image of Marlowe in his portrayal with passionate directness. What I feel is missing, though, is Marlowe’s subtlety, a sense of his real intelligence and beauty and grace, so the story tends towards the two-dimensional.
The physical energy of the performance, though, is infectious.
If DARK ANGEL is about the flesh, then INCIDENT is very much of the intellect.
A trio of performers endeavour to find out, from us, the audience, if any of us witnessed an attack on a performer the previous night. They confront us with our possible involvement – a crime not of direct involvement, but of witnessing and saying nothing.
Ravenhill assumes, rightly, that we agree with the actors – it is a ‘crime’. However, the fictional world we all inhabit for this short time, is in a state of civil war (it would seem.) The characters promote harsher and harsher punishments to protect all of our liberties. It’s a fascinating thought-piece; it lacks, though, internal dramatic conflict. We can watch it disinterestedly, as observers, following the intellectual twists and turns, but Ravenhill doesn’t draw us into his created world.
Marlow: Darren Haywood
Cristo: Louis Tappenden
Lucius: Lyle Mtchell
Reo: Alenka Dolekova
Yesterday an Incident Occurred
Director / Producer: Tracey Street
Lighting: Phil Swoffer
Make Up; Aimee Garner