Entertaining Mr Sloane

Fri 8th – Wed 20th November 2013

reviews

Hannah Sawyer

at 22:52 on 19th Nov 2013

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Studiospace triumphed with their recent production of 'Entertaining Mr. Sloane', drawing together an efficient use of lighting and performance to illuminate an intelligent narrative and real set of talent.

The set, a living room strewn with rubbish and damaged furnishings, immediately established a sense of confusion and chaos, a reflective indication of the frailty of truth which was brought to life by the small cast throughout the production. The lights abruptly came up and we delved straight into the action, promoting a common intrigue for both the audience and the characters. Kath and Mr. Sloane dominated the first scene of the play; Annabelle Kitson successfully worked the stage as the overzealous Kath, accompanied brilliantly by Tom Manson as the somewhat sinister Mr. Sloane. Both effectively conveyed a sense of discomfort right from the beginning.

Finbar Fitzgerald, as the elderly Kemp, provided a brief sense of relief from the initially intense scene. His intelligent body language, tone of voice and natural on-stage timing were exemplified and his initial characterisation as a surly old gentleman was often comic and received warmly by the audience. Fitzgerald’s transition, however, into a fragile victim was seamlessly done and the brutal murder scene was nothing short of distressing - a noteworthy performance in my opinion.

However, my standout performance of the night came from Chris Lowe as Ed, Kath’s ruthless brother. Even upon his very first entrance to the stage from the back of the theatre, his intimidation was palpable. Lowe’s strong London accent bellowed throughout the room, accompanied by his rigid posture that maintained a masculine strength continually used to abuse his suffering sister. His instant changes in vocal tone and body language to a camp lover were hilariously achieved and the stark contrast between the conflicting personalities exposed real talent.

The lighting remained relatively dim throughout, shadowed by a worn lampshade, maintaining the intrigue and secrecy of the deeds played out before us on stage. Indeed, a central highlight of the production was the effective combination of lighting and sound. The single light continually flashed frantically, accompanied by loud sounds of a revving car, intelligently evoking the chaos forced at the hands of Mr. Sloane and the uprising of each character’s sexual intent.

The final scene confirmed the production as a well-rounded, clever performance. The cast efficiently suggested the emotional distance of the characters with their brilliant handling of a continually fast paced course of dialogue. Their close proximity and constant talking only highlighted their constant lack of communication, perfectly in line with the play’s seemingly insensitive conclusion.

Overall, ‘Entertaining Mr. Sloane’ was a really interesting exploration of truth and desire, performed by a strong group of actors that guaranteed my enjoyment of an entirely alien play.

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