30 October 2008

Faces in the Crowd by Leo Butler

Cast Amanda Drew, Con O'Neill

Director Clare Lizzimore
Designers Rae Smith, William Fricker

At the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs (that's the Royal Court, of course)

After booking for this play I received an email warning of nudity. No matter how engrossing and engaging the play is, you cannot help but think of the actors' feelings when a script calls for this. It would have been wrong and weird to leave it out but the direction and set design made this as close as you could get to a non-issue.

The set is built like a fish tank. The audience all look in from above onto a floorplan layout of an apartment. There are metal strips on the floor for the walls and to help the actors, there are frames with handles to use as doors.

It's an intense few hours in the life of a separated couple who get together after 10 years apart in order to secure a baby before the wife's biological clock takes control. These actors have to go through the full range of emotions and carry it off without fault.
Having watched plays from the slips downstairs, I am used to having my eyeline obscured by the architecture but it's a bold decision to impose that on all of the audience. Mirrors are placed in such a way that you rarely miss any of the action but my pet hate of leaning forward on the rail does improve the experience, however if you do need to look over the edge, you only see a birds-eye view so the mirrors are actually more effective.

Wonderful play, well produced and directed. The actors were sensational and the post show talk was joyous and informatice.