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New drama at the Churchill

PUBLISHED: 16:47 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 17:18 16 August 2010

Overspill - Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Overspill - Churchill Theatre, Bromley

© Robert Workman

Bromley s Churchill Theatre was given a makeover recently when it was transformed into a contemporary studio space to present works by two new writers for a short season called Metamorphosis 08,

Bromley's Churchill Theatre was given a makeover recently when it was transformed into a contemporary studio space to present works by two new writers for a short season called Metamorphosis 08, writes Mark Campbell.

We were led through the auditorium and up onto the stage itself, where, behind black drapes, it had been converted into an imposingly dark performance space with tiered seating on opposite sides.

Ben Hales' (In Parenthesis) began the night in memorable style with actors Sean Campion and Adam Sopp hanging perilously from the theatre's fly space as two rock climbers who have fallen from a mountain and are faced with the inevitability of their own deaths.

As both try and maintain a semblance of normality by sharing jokes, discussing their first sexual experiences and exploring the nature of swear words, one wonders whether the accident itself will ever be mentioned.

But the introduction of a third climber, played by Marty Cruickshank, makes this inevitable, and soon the play loses its Pinteresque observance of human nature and descends (literally) into melodrama.

Adam Sopp was brilliant as the wounded Frank, playing off the hilariously deadpan Sean Campion, whose Irish lilt and demeanour reminded me strongly of Father Ted's Dermot Morgan.

The play lost focus with its contrived flashbacks, and should have ended with the death of Frank, but otherwise this was an engrossing drama.

Overspill by Ali Taylor couldn't have been more different. Eschewing naturalism for breakneck movement, stylised dialogue ("We the lads") and frenetic pacing, this play claimed to follow three boys on their night out in Bromley.

Expecting a colourful evocation of 'real life on the streets', I was disappointed when a terrorist bomb went off.

Then another. And another. If this is what life is like in Bromley, give me Baghdad any day.

A blatant 'issue' play with an anti-violence agenda that was as subtle as a brick through the window, Taylor's script felt like a third-rate Clockwork Orange.

Syrus Lowe, Paul Stocker and Danny Worters exuded energy, but the storytelling never really seemed anything more than a succession of trite 'yoof 'clichés.

* The next production at the Churchill Theatre is the student version of Les Misérables from July 9 - 12. Tickets: 020 8462 5824.

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