THEATRE Theatre Reviews Incomplete and Randon Acts of Kindness Royal Court London UK REVIEWS

Incomplete and Randon Acts of Kindness

Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Royal Court Theatre

Incomplete and random acts of playwrighting

This play by David Eldridge is a strange play. It is hard to say what it was about entirely. On a simple level the play is about Joey, an East End man in his thirties, played by Shaun Dingwall, who feels increasingly disconnected to the world around him. His mother has recently died from cancer and he can't relate to his father, especially since his father has begun a new relationship. He has a girlfriend, Kate (Kellie Bright), but he seems to be drifting from her. His childhood friend Colin, (Keir Charles), is losing his patience with him and he doesn't know why. He has begun mentoring a teenage boy, Trevor, who seems to be the only person he can really connect with.

Anthony Lamble's set design is very bare. It is basically an empty space. The bare walls of the theatre have been painted a dirty grey-green. A row of plain wooden chairs run along each sidewall. The characters sometimes sit off to the side in these chairs when they aren't in a scene. The chairs and the odd prop are occasionally brought onto the stage when required, but everything has been kept to a bare minimum.

Instead of using the set to create different locations, lighting is used, illuminating different parts of the stage in different shapes and colours. Paul Anderson's lighting design is excellent and extremely expressive. As well as suggesting different environments, it creates different moods. It can be communicated to the audience that Joey is losing his mind, just in the way that Anderson lights him. Anderson also managed to design the only convincing lightening sequence I have ever seen. The auditorium is plunged into total darkness then lit up for a nanosecond with a splinter of blinding light. The effect was exactly like lightening in real life; for a moment it made you believe that there was no roof above, but that we were all outside beneath the raging heavens.

The plot is non-linear and at times can be hard to follow. Scenes change when one character leaves and another enters. The next scene won't necessarily have anything to do with the previous one. The plot seems to follow Joey's own thoughts and memories, which, like anyone's, do not necessarily follow in a logical, chronological order. The stage seems to represent Joey's mind. When someone crosses the stage, they are crossing Joey's mind. When people sit at the side of the stage, that is perhaps meant to imply that they are in the back of Joey's mind.

The play meanders along with Joey being unable to relate to those around him, his thoughts getting increasingly confused. Really, this is a play about a man breaking up. Therefore, we see all his component parts; the man he is with his family, the man he is with his friends, the man he is with his lover and the man he is with his pupils.

“Incomplete and Randon Acts of Kindness” is at Royal Court Theatre from the 7th May until the 28th May, 2005.

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