As you enter, Chris Thorpe, a founder member of Unlimited Theatre and one of the writers of Zero Degrees and Drifting sits with his back to the audience in an upstairs room, running what is clearly a scratch radio studio.
Below him (though the design is not necessarily literal) is the ‘Museum of Everything That Matters’ with its fastidious curator (Elizabeth Besbrode), proudly showing off her display case of Petri dishes containing samples of different types of local rainfall ("and this is pissing cats and dogs"). While Marianne and Alan (Sarah Belcher and Nathan Rimell) live stage right in a lighthouse.
Clearly we are beset by symbolism here. A lighthouse, after all is both phallic and a grave warning. Marianne would do well to bear that in mind as her carefully charted and growing domestic harmony with Alan is disturbed by the arrival in their midst, presumably from the sea, of an uncommunicative, though clearly distressed, stranger, a more-than-becoming young man dressed in torn denim shorts and not much else. Nothing they can do - questioning, biting, kissing, all the usual physical stimuli - can rouse the bloke from his catatonia, so he is left to sleep it off in the quasi-connubial double bed. And when he does rouse himself, it is to do a lighthouse twirl with a torchlight in his mouth, presumably to underline the menace. But he still declines to communicate.
In the meantime, the relentless disc jockey upstairs is pushing out messages to all the missing people in the world, including the lost civilisation of Atlantis, while actually only connecting with the toy monkey in his lap; and the museum curator is frantically trying to index everything in her charge before it is eroded by a fast-encroaching sea. Everyone, in their own way, we are told, can "make a choice" and "make a difference" - though only by pushing compassion to the point at which we incur personal risk.
It's not, finally, a huge message, and the idea that it's about changing the world is pretentious to a degree - as, sadly, is Unlimited Theatre's uniquely fact-free programme for the show, which prints details of the eye colours and facial scars of the 19 people involved in this small five-hander.
Evocative and finely timed sound design by Gareth Fry is generally unsupported by a lumpen and poorly lit overall design, and all the performances are those of performance artists rather than actors in a show which Jon Spooner's direction never lifts off the floor.
- Ian Watson (reviewed at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds)