This article is from 2006.
ATC’s smart and ultimately very moving black comedy deals with our imagination and its sequestration by forms of violent conformism that manifest themselves through a profit hungry world.
In it, we meet Ralph (Matthew Horne) a young man whose overdeveloped, neurotic but ultimately harmless fantasy of love and redemption has been deemed fit, by some unseen executive, to turn into a movie. He attends some backlot room, where scriptwriter Manny (Peter Polycarpou) helps form his pitch into a commercially viable narrative. This entails some pain, but not nearly as much as is experienced at the arrival of Max and Thomas (Paul M Meston, Samuel Roukin) a pair of shady overseers working for the big man. The telephone rings, and the pressure mounts - it can only end in violence.
Matt Wilde’s production of John Kolvenbach’s play is driven by fast talking humour and rapid transitions to its finale, and on the way, there’s a good deal to reflect on, perhaps most of all, the nature of storytelling and who owns a story. Whether such narratives should ever be owned by multinational interests is very much in question. Ralph’s box of carefully made toys, each lovingly created to sustain his fantasy, becomes the arch enemy of the reifying telephone, yet this troubled young man is not a simple victim. Neither are the characters around him, all brilliantly created by the actors. Perhaps the pick of these in a strong field is Polycarpou’s fast talking scriptwriter, but whichever way you look, this is a pearl of entertainment. (Steve Cramer)
Assembly Rooms, until 28 Aug, 5pm, £11-£12 (£10-£11)