Review: We're Staying Right Here

2 star rating
Danny Kirrane, Daniel Portman and Tom Canton deliver crisp and dexterous performances in the continuous close-up of Park90, but a feast of self-pitying fails at the metaphorical level.

Theatre: Park Theatre

Closes here: Saturday 23 March 2019

Author:
Henry Devas

Director:
Jez Pike

Cast:

Tristabel - Tom Canton

Matt - Danny Kirrane

Benzies - Daniel Portman

Chris - Liam Smith


Synopsis


A hard-hitting, surreal and surprisingly funny journey into the deepest recesses of the human mind.


Henry Devas's startling debut play sheds new light on the hidden war fought by one in four of us every year; the war against depression.


Meet Matt; a stand-up comedian who doesn't laugh much anymore.


He's trapped in a room.


His mates won't stop jabbering and he just wants some peace.


Who let them in anyway? And why won't they leave?


As dogs howl at the door, a stranger descends from above, promising a cure...


Background


Trigger warning: may be affective for people coping with mental health issues.

ActDrop reviews


Performance date: Monday 11 March 2019
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This play has been described as "razor-sharp" and "visceral", so I'll try to keep the language.


When you slaughter a pig, you need to take care that the knife is sharpened only at the point, not along the whole blade, because otherwise the cut will be too wide, and you waste all the blood instead of having delicious black pudding.


Same story happens with metaphors in writing: use with caution, otherwise people will be laughing at your tragedy.


If you set your story in some war-torn, post-apocalypse setting and your characters have electricity, water running, toilet working, plenty of food and no need to care about heating and clothing maybe, just maybe, you are subconsciously boasting with your first-world, white male privileges rather than complaining about your first-world, white male problems (lack of creative self-fulfilment, crikey, my heart bled)?


Three lads (Danny Kirrane, Daniel Portman, Tom Canton - all delivering crisp and dexterous performances in the continuous close-up of the tiny Park90 space) are locked up in a flat with a boarded entrance and the only escape ... the ladder to the roof.


Idle and bored, they sink into scoffing and quarrels that border on violence.


We are presented with a vibrant illustration why, in institutions (schools, armies, hospitals, prisons), people are kept busy where possible, even with seemingly meaningless tasks.


That is to prevent them from gnawing each other.


Even if you take the story to a metaphorical level (e.g. Matt is locked up not with real people but trapped in his head with his daemons / peer pressure / societal demands) it does not get any better, because all the comfort and facilities go to the metaphorical level as well.


How should I see the functioning toilet other than as representation of care, support, attention to feelings and other luxuries of human-centristic society, that Matt does not even notice in his oblivious feast of self-pitying?


Guys, you built the toilet door on the set, and characters "use" the toilet - you did this, it's there, I can not ignore it.



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