one under

18 Dec

by Winsome Pinnock

at the Arcola Theatre

A man has thrown himself under a train.  A cleaner and the driver of the train discuss the experience, trying to imagine how it feels. If you are lucky and fall into the gaps, the worst part must be climbing back out. The embarrassment in front of all the people !
Cyrus, the driver needs to find out why the man has jumped. He gets in touch with Nell, the lady who has adopted Sonny and his sister Zoe. Nell and Cyrus become acquainted, Zoe is suspicious of him.
We cut to Sonny and Christine, his relationship with a girl in the launderette. He presents her with flowers, he pays for her to stay in an expensive hotel. He obviously has money. Why did he jump?
We go back and forth between the Cyrus/ Nell conversation and the Sonny/Christine. We are taken from one world to another without ever finding out anything about any of them. Along with the characters we feel emotionally involved in the mystery of Sonny but are destined never to find out.
Shenagh Gavan is an actress experienced in heavy drama and never disappoints . She plays the bereaved foster mother with intelligence and a kind of careful reticence – relying on Cyrus for comfort . For Zoe, (Evelyne Oyedekun) who has lost a beloved brother this is far from comfortable as she believes Nell is replacing her love for Sonny with her affection for the stranger.  We discover, just as she does, the fact that she has always been jealous of the love her foster mother has given to the young man.
 Stanley J Browne plays Cyrus who becomes obsessed with the man he has inadvertently killed, and seems lost in a kind of bewilderment at what has caused the tragedy.
The second pair are Sonny himself, played by Reece Panfry and Christine is Clare Louise English. This part of the play, which is played out in small sections is more confusing to us, the audience, and there seems to no reason for him to take such a dramatic action. We never find out much about him, what is in his mind, where his money comes from. Is he a gambler or a drug dealer? What went so wrong for him that he wanted to lose his life?

It is a play of emotion, drama and confusion. But the mystery is always fascinating. The setting by Amelia Jane Hankin is  made of slats of wood or bamboo and is as ambiguous as the play itself.
Direction is by Armit Sharma for Graeae and Theatre Royal Plymouth productions. There are surtitles above the action with the dialogue written and easy to read.

It is  a human mystery play with no simple ending.ReplyReply to allForward

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