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I Met A Man Who Wasn't There (tour – Westcliff)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Thrillers come in many guises. Supernatural ones, however, present a problem when staged. Take the new one by Philip Meeks, an experienced writer for both television and theatre. It’s a two-hander, which in itself places a heavy burden on the actors, and there are many materialisations of different kinds as a journalist and the clairvoyant she interviews reveal the layers of both their pasts.

I won’t spoil the ending for you; that certainly wouldn’t be playing fair. But I did think that it didn’t quite work. The setting is a room in a shabby top-floor flat in a seaside resort which no longer attract tourists. Edgar is a widower, just about getting-by financially. Amanda has been an award-winning reporter and still attracts commissions from weekend supplements. The fee she offers for the interview is one he cannot afford to refuse.

Cathy Shipton is very good as Amanda, forceful and brittle at the same time, so that you know that there is more to her past life and career than her initial description of it. It’s quite a wordy play, with longish speeches for each of the characters, and for the first act, I struggled to hear all of Brian Capron’s dialogue.

This is a play in which what is said early on comes to have special meaning later in the action, all of which takes place over 36 hours. Dropping the curtain between scenes is probably a production necessity, but the tension unfortunately drops with it.


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