Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The Person Without - Black Box, 24/7 Festival Manchester

The Person Without
Writer: Jenny Yates
Director: Ian Moore
Reviewer: Clare Howdon

‘The Person Without’ written by Jenny Yates is currently playing as part of the 24 7 Festival. It opens with two strangers Walt (Bernard Merrick) and Adam (John Molloy) awaiting their meetings with the mysterious figure up stairs, who has invited them both to a weekend poker match. As the play progresses the characters (and audience) are exposed to just how far people will go to exact revenge.

The strength of the writing makes it hard to believe that this is Yates’ first play. It is clearly inspired by the work of Harold Pinter. There is a strong sub-text throughout and the snappy and enigmatic dialogue maintains audience interest.

Ian Moore’s simple sleight of hand direction and effective staging combined with an excellent choice of space all help to add the required tension and atmosphere needed for this piece, but this is definitely an actor’s play and it is the talent and conviction of the three-strong cast that brings this piece to life.

Bernard Merrick’s understated and effortless performance as ‘miserable old git’ Walt contrasts wonderfully with John Molloy’s energetic and confident Adam and this results in scenes of magnetic and hugely watchable chemistry. Joan Mcgee also delivers a natural performance as ‘house-keeper’ Maggie and serves to further the intrigue and mystery as this plot unfolds.

For me, ‘The Person Without’ is exactly what fringe theatre should be about; a simple yet highly effective production which allows a strong script and excellent performances to speak for themselves. This is definitely a must see for anyone who enjoys challenging and intelligent theatre.
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