by Philip Ridley.
Southwark Playhouse Shipwright Yard corner of Tooley St and Bermondsey St SE1 2TF To 14 April 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Sat 3.15pm.
Runs 2hr 25min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7407 0234.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 19 March.
Fragments intricately shored-up together to explain ruins.
Like glass, life shivers and breaks. As someone says here, there was a time and place where such cracks were celebrated, outlined in gold when glass was mended. The fracture was the important thing.
Philip Ridley’s play is full of important things. Separate shards, relationships that aren’t what they seem. With the speed of the fastest clock in the universe events jump backwards, explaining origins, offering surprises, then jolt further back so the oldest times offer the complete picture, the innocent-seeming past explaining the hurtful present.
There’s violence in speech and action. But more than usually Ridley shows lives seeking contact and response – love, defined in his play of that name as the fastest clock in the universe. There, the idea was a tacked-on curtain line. Here, he takes time to explore it.
Along with other things. The play, if nothing else, is a warning against making assumptions. Every initial impression has to be redefined as scenes progress or times dot about. And increasingly apparent as a cloud covering all events, is the sense of loss taking over people’s lives.
Often it’s linked to death, and the search for meaning. A young man is beaten to a pulp. When the cause is discovered, it relates to a death-linked anger. There’s death by terrorism, the death of a father/son relationship (in a distant variant on Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman) which leads to a physical death.
And death by poison, related to the sudden, brief blooming of fictional south Essex town Draylingstowe and its car industry, now abandoned and leaving the disused site where large tracts of the action take place, or which is referred to, paralleling in its demise the individual dissolutions and deaths.
Russell Bolam directs the gradual assembling of related histories in a simply staged production allowing a smooth flow of the dramatic slivers and giving space for the shivering in-yer-face attacks, to which Ridley then adds human depth. Lyn Poulet provides a sympathetic centre of anxieties while Joseph Drake and Josh Williams give finely-detailed pictures of young friends, one with a quiet yet explosively destructive obsession.
Evie: Amanda Daniels.
Ryan: Joseph Drake.
Gordy: Andrew Hawley.
Alec: Robbie Jarvis.
Mikey: Simon Lenagan.
Lyn: Olivia Poulet.
Jack: Josh Williams.
Director: Russell Bolam.
Designer: Anthony Lamble.
Lighting: Richard Howell.
Sound: Tom Gibbons.
Movement: Anna Morrissey.
Fight director: Malcolm Ranson.
Assistant director: Ross Drury.