WRECK: Toby Campion.
www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk. (Full Details from Fifth Word)
Runs: 55m: no interval: till 30th September.
Performance times: 7.45pm.
Review: Alan Geary: 23rd September 2017.
In all respects this one-hander is quite brilliant.
To the hardened reviewer, a one-hander with a Nottingham youth as its central character doesn’t sound that promising. It’s been done before with varying success. But with Wreck, writer Tony Campion has come up with a stunning piece of work.
The play has Tariq, a phone shop manager in Nottingham city centre, getting the train back from Edinburgh. He’s been visiting his girlfriend who’s at university doing a master’s degree. They had a minor tiff so he left early without telling her.
Suddenly, without warning, Tariq’s life suddenly takes a calamitous turn for the worse. The train is wrecked.
It’s a brilliantly-crafted piece. Narration of Tariq’s back story is concurrent with the action on the train, and with subsequent events. And there’s masterly interweaving of soundtrack voices with the on-stage action – all sound effects are super.
The role of Tariq presents massive demands for any actor. But Luke Grant, in his professional debut, delivers a remarkable performance. Not only has he to play a complex young man in various moods and violently contrasting situations; he does all the other characters who enter his story. It’s heart-breaking when he tells of his younger brother Ali as a child.
A memorable few moments come when Tariq is trying to comfort an obviously dying man of his own age. They talk about ordinary everyday youthful preoccupations: Man United and Notts Forest, job interviews, expired railcards and the like.
Along with being a thriller, Wreck is all entirely plausible. Within a framework of what are already current events – this is set in the very near future – we have an ordinary run-of-the-mill man caught up and trapped in a damning web of circumstance. And you can’t blame those who have trapped him; they are engaged in an essential and difficult task.
This ought to play to wider audiences round the country.
Tariq: Luke Grant.
Director: Alexandra Moxon.
Designer: Abi Keating.
Lighting and Sound Designer: Tom Mowat.