We’re Staying Right Here by Henry Devas. Park 90, Clifton Terrace, London N4 3*** William Russell

by Henry Devas
Park 90, Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP to 23 March 2019.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu & Sat 3.15pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7870 6876.

Review: William Russell 1 March.

Apocalypse now – or total disaster
This first play by Henry Devas makes considerable demands upon the cast to which all four respond to considerable effect. But what is going on is something of a mystery and in the end it remains baffling. Matt (Danny Kirrane) is a stand up comic with a truly terrible routine of old jokes who, we discover, is holed up in a boarded up room with two companions, an aggressive Scot called Benzies (Daniel Portman) and a rather icy and apparently in control Tristabel (Tom Canton). There are people banging on the door trying to get in, war is apparently being waged out in the real world where Matt’s wife and baby daughter are. He longs to join them but cannot get up the nerve to climb the ladder which dominates the set and is apparently the escape route – and the other two are just as reluctant. When finally they do pluck up courage somebody comes down.
In the second act it all turns rather nasty, Benzies delivers an astonishingly effective Glasgow kiss – how Matt is not afflicted for real is a miracle as well as a tribute to the fight director Roger Bartlett – and somebody else from outside arrives, which provides for a nicely different but could be the same person double act from Liam Smith.
It could be a story for our times or it could all be happening inside Matt’s head and he is having, comics being notoriously prone to them, a nervous breakdown. The language is pretty coarse, but while the play bamboozles it also holds the attention enough for one to want to find out what it is all about. The playing is very good, and director Jez Pike has handled the material with care. There is also a rather good set by Elizabeth Wright which exploits the limitations of the Park 90 acting space in ways I have not seen there before, and all credit to her for that.
Having got all that off his plate one must hope that Mr Devas comes up with something else next time, because whatever one feels about the play it is a promising enough debut to make one hope for a second course.

Tristabel: Tom Canton.
Matt: Danny Kirrane.
Benzies: Daniel Portman.
Chris/Christopher: Liam Smith.

Director: Jez Pike.
Set & Costume Design: Elizabeth Wright.
Lighting Designer: George Bach.
Sound Designer: Dominic Brennan.
Fight Director: Roger Bartlett.

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