07 May 2009

Nocturnal by Juan Mayorga
translated by David Johnston

Doctor - Martin Dunster
Short Man - Paul Hunter
Short Woman - Amanda Lawrence
Tall Man - Justin Salinger
Tall Woman - Justine Mitchell

Directed by Lyndsey Turner
Designed by Matthew Walker & Hannah Clark
Animation by Matthew Walker

Two men live in the same apartment block. One likes long walks, Greek myths and foreign languages. The other likes making lists, fixing bikes and blackmail.

One day, they bump into each other in a local café. Only this is no coincidence: one of them has been planning this moment for a very, very, very long time.

When you're alone in a big city, how far would you go to make a new friend?

A brilliant new satire about obsession, insomnia and ships that pass in the night.

At the Gate Theatre in unreserved seating during it's UK premiere run and on the night of the Post Show discussion.

Wonderful piece of twisty writing. During the post show talk, we learned that the amazing first scene was originally a stand alone piece commissioned by the Royal Court but not optioned. Mr Mayorga found himself living with the two men and progressing their lives into this play.

There are two main ideas in here - about the creepy and strange obsessiveness of the short man and the illegal immigrant status of the tall man......with all the stresses and strains that puts upon their individual wives. The short man's wife explores the world of retreating into obsession and the tall man's wife has to deal with taking a dominant role in the relationship as the breadwinner and thereby demeaning her husband. All very tricky, interesting stuff.

All of the performances were wonderful and such a refreshing, new idea handled with joy by lovely Lyndsey Turner.
The fifth character is only ever seen on a tv screen but there is a sixth character in the form of the amazing animated sets. These are so incredible that they might almost distract - so much so that one silly girl sitting in front of me giggled each time a pair of nocturnal eyes peeped out from behind a tree. It was executed to such great effect and solved what must have been a multitude of set change problems that would have otherwise been impossible in this tiny theatre.

Take a look at what the Guardian had to say.

Silly note - the lady at the box office was featured in the poster for The Winterling when it played at the Royal Court.