Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Cramphorn Theatre


Shifting Sands' publicity promises a lot, whilst leaving you wondering just what to expect.

I was not prepared to be so disappointed. Director Gerry Flanagan's background is in the art of the clown, but it was hard to discern this influence here. The acting was one-dimensional and occasionally insecure, while the writing – script by “Nottingham-based writer Andy Barrett” - was awkward and flat: “I'd have thought seeing a friend be killed is something you'd want to get off your chest.” Less than two hours, including the interval, yet it seemed so much longer.

Flynn the postman – a dead ringer for Grayson Perry – had a cheeky, ingratiating manner, Mona was a stock vamp, and Logan was menacing and violent.- the same actor was Micky, the chess nerd postman. I found it hard to believe that he was a professional actor. There was no programme. I'd like to have known a little about the performers. Where did they train ? Did they cut their teeth on Holby City ?

The audience was sparse; there were few laughs. The fantasy sequences needed a heightened reality - “A woman ruined me once ...” The script contained references that were never exploited - Mrs Danvers, for instance.

There were flashes of inspiration – the buckets at the bar, the Black Book sequence – but generally I was reminded of a student piece: pretentious, overblown and pleased with itself. The worst thing I've seen in some time.

Good job I'm not awarding their grades.

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