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86,400 Seconds (Bristol)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Just in case you’re wondering, 86,400 seconds actually equates to 24 hours. This gives you a clue to the fact that the action takes place over a 24 hour period.

86,400 Seconds tells the story of one man holding a three day fishing vigil in memory of his son who has tragically died. However on the third day he is interrupted by a young stranger who won’t go away or leave him alone. During their conversations, the play explores many emotions and feelings from grief to guilt and blame, but always seasoned with a good dose of humour to stop the action from becoming heavy or bogged down.

The play – written by local playwright Jo McAnish - is part of an on-going project inspired by the plaques on Clevedon Pier. After the collapse of the pier supporters were encouraged to buy a plaque and put their own message on it in order to assist with the re-building funds. The messages range from simple names to more complex private stories and to date there are over 10,000 plaques on the Pier. Jo has lived and worked in the South West for many years. Curious about the stories behind the plaques on Clevedon Pier she, along with director Hannah Drake, conceived and developed the Pier Project. This play is Jo’s professional theatre debut and she is delighted to see it on stage.

Floor to Ceiling Theatre the company who produced the show, is a new creative partnership based in the South West, between Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Graduates Monty Till – producer of the show, and Hannah Drake, who directs this production. They aim to produce theatre by, with and for the communities in and around Bristol, providing opportunities on both sides of the curtain. Judging by this production they are certainly going in the right direction and I look forward to seeing more from them.

A very well produced piece with some superb acting from Stuart Lyddon playing Ned (the man on the pier) and Justin Palmer (the obnoxious stranger). The play rattles along at a good pace, and the quirky humour stops it from becoming maudlin. The audience attention is held throughout the evening and the ending, which could have been tear-jerkingly sentimental, is handled with sensitivity and rounds the work off in a satisfying way. All in all an excellent evening’s entertainment. This play runs at the Brewery until 27th November – go and see it if you get the chance and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!


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