Monday, 13 February 2012

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me

Perth Theatre
4 stars
Twenty years on from Frank McGuinness' imagined study of daily life as 
a political hostage inspired by the real life experiences of Brian 
Keenan, and the pains of confinement McGuinness depicts look more 
pertinent than ever. By placing an American, an Irishman and and an 
Englishman in chains in an airless cell in Beirut, the survival 
strategies they cling to go beyond initial sparring about colonialism, 
invasion and all the other indignities caused by organised religion to 
get to some sense of solidarity by default.

As with most of McGuinness' work, it's pretty much unbreakable, and 
Rachel O'Riordan's new production simply lets it speak for itself, as 
Adam, Edward and Michael move from fantasy Desert Island Discs to the 
1977 Wimbledon Ladies Final to get them through their plight.  The 
blacked-out stage curtain slams down to punctuate each scene on Gary 
McCann's tilted set, suggesting that  any glimpse at other worlds is 
shut out come night time. When awake, there's a kind of madness 
inherent in the things the men cook up, which, as the trio question 
their own manhood, lean more to the homo-erotic fantasia of Kiss of the 
Spiderwoman than the angry hysteria of Midnight Express.

The interplay between Joseph Chance's laid-back Adam, Stephen Kennedy's 
bluff Edward and Robert Morgan's academic Michael borders on absurdly 
comic routines, as if they were merely finding common ground in some 
post-pub piece of male bonding. Yet when Edward is released, leaving 
Michael to survive alone, despite the sun that shines through the now 
open door and the sentiments expressed, this is no end of summer camp, 
but an experience that will mark them forever.

The Herald, February 13th 2012


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