The Silence of Snow by Mark Farelly. The Brockley Jack Studio theatre, London SE4. 3*** William Russell

By Mark Farelly.
The Brockley Jack Studio, 410 Brockley Road, London SE4 2JH to 16 March 2019.
Tues-Sat 7.30pm.
Runs 1hr 15 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 0333 666 3366
Review: William Russell 14 March.

A life mis-spent

Patrick Hamilton is one of the great English writers with plays still performed and made into major films like Gaslight and Rope and novels like the extremely depressing London low life tale Hangover Square. He had a horrendous childhood, enjoyed startling success when in his early twenties, had two disastrous marriages and took to drink, dying of cirrhosis of the liver in 1958. This monologue finely performed by Mark Farelly takes place in a clinic where Campbell is facing up to having electric shock treatment to deal with the black dog of depression which afflicted him all his life. It started life in 2014 on the Edinburgh fringe and has toured regularly since. This current production directed by Linda Marlowe began in Cheltenham in January this year. It is a fascinating life, although not a happy one and Hamilton clearly had a massive problem growing up with his parents, with London low life, which he relished and hated, and his flirtation with Marxism. It is, if not a happy story, an interesting one and Farelly delivers his text drawn from Hamilton’s writings in part with passion and manages to hold the interest, dealing at times directly with audience members – there is one of those double edged things the theatre can do, at times he is acting in Hamilton’s world, at others he is the performer inviting the audience, or a selected member of it, into that world.
Monologues are currently the theatrical thing and this one is a good example of the genre – it informs, it moves the audience, and one leaves with something to think about and you cannot say better than that. Hamilton emerges as a sad figure, someone who had huge success, who had great gifts as a writer yet a dismal and rather tragic life.
He also did not think much of Hitchcock’s treatment of Rope – and maybe he had a point.

Patrick Hamilton: Mark Farelly.
Director: Linda Marlowe.

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