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5:30 (24:7 Festival)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The title of Alistair McDowell’s play 5:30, running as part of this year's 24:7 Festival, is significant. For that is the time when Rob, a deeply troubled boy who is to grow into an even more disturbed man, gets respite from a weekly bullying and can enjoy the sanctuary of home.

We first meet the adult Rob when, carrying a plastic bag full of lager, he boards a train (after what seems a very long wait) and plonks himself beside the unreceptive Tim (Adam Caslin) who is reading.

Peter Ash who plays Rob is excitable and intimidating as he talks non-stop and nervously about his family and life in general whilst constantly drinking and trying to embroil Tim into conversation.

Tim finally speaks out when he cannot stand Rob’s racist and homophobic remarks any longer. He feels so uncomfortable with this disturbed fellow passenger that he wants to move away.

Sadly, he doesn’t, and this is his downfall. Or is it? As the play reaches a frightening climax we realise that Tim, too, has skeletons in his cupboard and this leads to a cleverly contrived unexpected ending. Thanks to a good script, the characters contrast and interact well in .

- Julia Taylor


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