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Keepers (Leeds)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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Keepers gets off to a strong start, performers Martin Bonger and Fionn Gill have great physicality and Lawrence Williams’s live soundscape successfully conjures up the bluster of a stormy Welsh coast.

Based on a true story of two lighthouse keepers in 1801 this is a maritime Odd Couple offering up a few laughs but ultimately failing to deliver on the potential drama of two characters locked together holding fast against the elements.

This stripped back production, as sparse as the meagre living quarters these characters inhabited means we rely on the performers to physically communicate their environment. Unfortunately they lose me the moment they start to mime. I find myself perplexed by intricate actions and the continual repetition of these movements in the name of naturalism. There is so much ladder climbing that I’m frustrated. If you’ve seen someone mime climbing a ladder once… I crave invention but there are no real surprises and too much ‘business’. Beyond annoying each other, I know nothing of these people so that when tragedy inevitably strikes I’m not invested enough to care. I feel little engagement as one character descends into madness and my enthusiasm sinks without a trace as I wait impatiently for an emotional pay off that never comes.


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