by Joseph Skelton
The Hope Theatre. 207 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1RL to 21 July 2018.
Runs 80 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 0333 666 3366
Review: William Russell 5 July.
Power games – and playing chicken
This is one of those plays in which the question that confronts the audience is just who is going to come out on top as the two protagonists – it is a staple of the two hander play – battle it out with each in turn defeating the other. It is packed with menace, there is some quite alarming violence involving a cricket bat, a frozen chicken, a baby chair, killing animals in the zoo and some sexual activity. An awful lot of perspiration is shed by all concerned – not because the theatre was baking hot because of the heatwave, which it already was, but because the action was taking place in an overheated flat Yorkshire council estate flat.
Pat is a simple lad who has thoughts about killing people including his mother – the unseen fat Jewels of the title. The harm he might do to people worries him, he is seeking help, and so far hasn’t actually turned his thoughts into reality. Danny is a middle aged family friend estranged from his wife and child. He has met Pat in the pub and spun him a line about how therapy could help and he knows how to provide it. Pat falls for it and has come back to his flat for treatment and a few beers.
But when the time comes to go Danny refuses to let him leave. Just what does he have in mind? It is an intriguing set up and Mr Skelton has come up with plenty of twists and turns as the battle for supremacy raged between these two damaged people. Robert Walter is satisfactorily nasty as the bully boy Danny, like all bullies not half as tough as he pretends, and Hugh Train makes Pat a likeable simple soul who turns out, as simple souls often do, to be quite capable of taking care of himself.
The result is 80 minutes of wondering just what will happen next directed effectively by Luke Davies.
Danny: Robert Walters.
Pat: Hugh Train.
Director: Luke Davies.
Set Design: Andrew Skelton.
Lighting Design: Timothy Hofmeier.
© Photograph: Laura Harling.