Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Killing Time - Darlington Civic Theatre

Killing Time by Richard Stockwell
Director:Ian Dickens
Reviewer: Ian Cain

A seemingly chance encounter in a supermarket brings Jane and Rick together. She is the ‘damsel in distress’ who has lost her purse and is unable to pay for her groceries; he is the knight in shining armour that steps in and settles the bill to spare her embarrassment.

But all is not as it first seems and gradually we discover that this story has more twists and turns than a corkscrew. During a conversation, over a gin and tonic, in Rick’s comfortable sitting room it transpires that Jane is unhappily married to a violent businessman. Rick reveals that he is a ‘head-hunter’ who has been out of work for a while.

However, it is obvious that both characters have more secrets to tell and every new revelation transfers the psychological upper hand from one to the other.

Hannah Waterman and Huw Higginson display their considerable acting talents as they portray two entirely different characters from Cyrenne and Percy in last week’s ‘Rattle of a Simple Man.’ Indeed, this 10th Anniversary Summer Repertory Season – brought to Darlington Civic Theatre by Ian Dickens Productions Ltd – has got off to a fantastic start.
In ‘Killing Time’, the sexual chemistry between Waterman and Higginson is as abundantly evident as it was in last week’s production, although the tension in this play feeds from suspense rather than comedy.

It is a tribute to the writer, Richard Stockwell, and the performances of the two actors that the momentum is consistently kept up. Two-handed plays which are set in just one room have the potential to be either brilliant or dreadful. In this case, the audience are kept on the edge of their seats throughout the performance as passions run high and events shock and surprise in equal measure.

The set, designed by Alan Miller-Bunford, is excellent and provides the perfect environment for the drama to be played out. Direction from Ian Dickens keeps the story moving and the atmosphere suitably tense.

It must be reiterated, though, that this production owes its success more to the performances of Waterman and Higginson than it does to any other factor. It’s a brilliant play that combines sexual provocation with murder, mystery and suspense and keeps the audience guessing right up to the final curtain. Don’t miss it!

'Killing Time' runs at Darlington Civic Theatre until Saturday 20th June 2009
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