Superb ensemble acting from a company ranging in ages from 6 to 60(?). Oliver Coopersmith as The Boy (the older one) acted with a confidence well beyond his years as did The Girl who played that part on the night I went - Friday the 11th of July. I found it a very disturbing play, imaginatively staged and written with a real sense of character. Joseph Fiennes as the slouching, indolent police officer, a la Marlon Brando, was mesmerising. Kirsty Bushell and Kevin Trainor gave us perfectly measured perfiormances as a idiosincratic manager and waiter respectively. And finally Roger Sloman and Phyliss Logan two people caught up in events they cannot comprehend or even want to comprehend, but instead languish in innocence for a lost America. - rds
17 Jul 08
Thoughtful, fascinating script. Wonderfully acted and directed. - fred
24 Jun 08
Where do you start.... Joseph Fiennes terribly terribly miscast. The constant allusions to him eating and needing to think about a diet were ridiculous. This deputy sheriff looked like what he was, a Hollywood film star. Ian Hart was woefully underused. But then, this play was underwritten massively. There was no clear sense of story and the writer completely wrote around the issues involved rather than driving through them boldly. Despite having audience three sides it played mainly to the front block. Very dispapointing. - Scal
20 Jun 08
I think last night was press night, and maybe the pundits have already gone into print, but speak as you find. New writing and “names”, that’s the deal, at The Bush. Old writing and non-celebs are my usual fringe “thing” …small houses with small houses. A packed house with high expectations on the performance side : different country.
To the writing, first. Also different country. Remotest Iowa. An issue of the moment, an issue of our here and now – how we deal with sex offenders in society – and wider themes, too, of intolerance and fear (of the unknown, of the enemy within, of the dark side …). So why Iowa? Well maybe it’s that “out there”, rarified location (“Fargo” meets Sam Shepard?), and that us-only-moreso quality of the people (American Gothic?). A place where The Deputy Sheriff drops by, patrols, serves writs and offers a doss at the Station House, where small-talk starts with salvation, not the weather : here, the stakes rise, the focus heightens. Trouble is, we’ve seen this house, this motel, this diner, this sheriff’s office, before. This is where stuff happens, all right, but how is it going to matter, to us? More important, can you pull it off with so many potential clichés staring you in the face?
It’s in the writing and in the playing, of course. This one cracks along from scene to swift-changed scene : edgy, economic dialogue ; moment-to-moment energy shifts, tension, release. A 90-minute ride, well-lit, excellently scored. And of course the actors have it : not a moment dropped, not a beat short-changed, though at odd moments the thread of the script seemed just a bit wayward. I loved Kirsty Bushell’s managing Manager, Joseph Fiennes’ very watchable, troubled Deputy (not as in “troubled pop icon …”, but troubled) and Ian Hart’s A.G. – offender or victim? No disappointment expected, none given.
But then, this is at most twenty, not two thousand feet away, where in many exchanges the audience are nearer the actors than they are to each other : theatrical truth played up this close, this well, defies cliché. And this, too, is a grounded piece, staged to a mutating framed panorama of … well, go and see. All the elements - fire, air, earth and water – are in there. Things shatter, spill, burn and flutter. The motel TV flickers over our heads ; maple syrup gloops, shards fly ; you catch the peanut breath …
I’m not sure how well this would work on a big stage with lesser performances, but in this space, with this staging and these actors, it’s a blast.
- Chris Bearne
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