EIF 16 The Destroyed Room

THE DESTROYED ROOM by Matthew Lenton and Vanishing Point is a much less comfortable evening in the theatre. Three folk left from seats around us when the male character, played by Barnaby Power, described the video showing the death of the Jordanian pilot at the hands of ISIS, frame by frame. Those who conscientiously avoid such graphic material on the web have every right to feel cheated.

The play’s point at that moment was to show how clever such manipulation is.

The script is naturalistic, the behaviours of three folk coming together and falling into one of those conversations – this one started “If you had to destroy one thing in your house, what would it be? – and led on, as scripts must, into deeper and darker territory than might have been expected.

THE DESTROYED ROOM is a play for our times full of the big questions and its performance by three talented actors – Elicia Daly and Pauline Goldsmith joined Power – is incomparable.

Also on stage are two cameras and their operatives sending close-ups of the performers onto big screens. Does it remind us how everything we do today is recorded – or do they just get between the audience and the play? I began to watch for the close-up when any of the three performers held sway, my companion was simple irritated. He’s not on FB and has only ever appeared in one selfie.

I was able to open the sweeties for our neighbour.

Run continues and tickets are here

Royal Lyceum’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream has to be one of life’s most enriching theatrical experiences. Even when the Director, Matthew Lenton, sets it in mid-winter, Shakespeare’s language still has the power to charm, excite, soothe – when one can hear it. A few folk in the bar at the interval were expressing difficulty catching the words of the female actors. Something of a contrast to the over-loud Guid Sisters.

The counter-indicative weather did nothing for me. I really want my Midsummer Night to be warm and filled with the buzz of wings, whether of fairies or bees. I found it just too incredible that everyone would go off into the woods in swirling snow. However, what the cast then did with the physical theatre of being out in the cold was at times very funny. Miles Yekinni and Kevin Mains as Midsummer Night’s Demetrius and Lysander were hilariously intertwined in a hopeless wrestling match that threatened to stop the performance.

Ifan Meredith gave a somewhat emasculated performance as Oberon/Theseus. I wanted more – more authority, more gravitas and, as Oberon, more sinister. Jordan Young, on the other hand, was having a ball playing Bottom and we enjoyed that. Maybe Pyramus and Thisbe slid over into excess, but Barnaby Power was a splendid Peter Quince and the Mechanicals were a deserved highlight.

I’ve seen many, many productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This wasn’t the best, but a good night out and great to see the members of the Young Lyceum getting a chance on stage.

Johnny McKnight’s Cinderella is up next at the Royal Lyceum. Starts 29th November.