- May 19, 2019
Festivals are the natural home of the short play, and hooray for that. But this ambitious venture pays off in spades. At just under two hours Keith Huff’s beautifully crafted drama is both deeply satisfying and deeply disturbing, an intense study of friendship, abuse, corruption and delusion. Two cops, two very different men who grow up together and love each other, yet their views of how they should behave are radically different, totally conflicted their story spirals into a downward vortex of violence and deceit.
The script clearly divides between dialogue and monologue and each performer has a mammoth task. It’s wordy, filled with Chicago vernacular and utterly dependent on a convincing delivery of the pace and the accent. Both actors do this with incredible skill. Ben Pritchard’s Joey is the gentler and more reasonable character, still hard edged but filled with doubt and regret. His delivery of this is flawless, focused and very fine indeed.
Cullan Smyth plays Denny with disarming and unflinching power, his performance is fuelled by anger and misguided loyalties and he carries you along with that terrible conflict, at times horrified by his actions and at others completely sympathetic.
A word too about the staging and sparse direction, it works perfectly, the simple set, constant fall of rain and restrained lighting work to great effect. Sean Lippett-Fall has resisted larding the whole with effects and nonsense leaving the audience with a raw and powerful performance that had me gripped from start to finish.
On the back page of an excellent programme you will find the words Amateur Production but there is nothing whatsoever amateur about this thrilling production – catch it if you can!
The Lantern Theatre
Runs until 26 May