By Samuel Smith
Five men, five characters all with troubled stories. Five monologues about despair anguish and regret from writer Dan Horrigan. In each case, the men are seeking something from the audience by telling their story. They are imploring the audience. Hopeful that someone will understand and perhaps even interact.
It is a production which relies solely on each actor and their storytelling ability, aided only by a chair and, in the last case, a small selection of pocket-size props. Each performance is standalone though there are some definite parallels in tone, journey of the story and the questions they ask of the audience.
Broadly, the performances are very good – some slightly better than others. The actors work hard to tell their tales with conviction. Some performers have either a more interesting story to tell or a better knack for being able to deliver it.
The writing is really lovely.. All of the monologues have a poetic style to them; a feature which solidified their consistency. Though lovely, not all characters needed the same eloquence to their language especially given some of the men had pleaded to have had poor education. Also, there were times where the writing could have been a little tighter. Perhaps a touch less on the how the character felt about themselves and more dedicated to telling the story of the actions that lead them there.
The distinguishing feature of this production was the very obvious breaking of the forth wall by engaging directly with the audience. The script proposes an audience reaction which is sometimes passive and sometimes active. A bold choice and right that theatre does this however its reception will always be subjective.
This is really nice piece of theatre for forcing audiences to from judgements. It ticks a lot of boxes and the actors presented the stories well. The only takeaway critism for the piece would be that at times it was a little verbose and a little too much telling rather than showing. Otherwise, a powerful piece of theatre.
Reprehensible Men 2 is at Tristan Bates Theatre until Saturday 19 August at 7.45pm. For more details and to buy tickets click here: camdenfringe.com