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Friday, 13 July 2018

REVIEW: Locked Up at the Tristan Bates Theatre

This premiere of a new play written by Heather Simpkins, Locked up, produced by bear in the air productions and staged at the Tristan Bates Theatre is to be applauded for its intent: a London professional debut for the author and a young theatre company trying to develop new talent. The premise is simple, Declan , played by bear in the air founder , Samuel Ranger finds himself in a small brick room ten paces by ten paces square with no obvious door or windows when he suddenly finds he is joined by Topher, played by Connor Cook. Should they trust each other in order to work out where they are, why they are there and how to get out?

It is a sort of cross between Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter and Anthony Horowitz’s Mindgames as the relationship between the two men plays with the truth and reality of their situation and the threat of an unseen force outside of the room. In both these plays the room itself is like a third character. However in this play the room is implied by a low wall and grey curtains that flutter as the cast move and the action never consistently grabs the attention of the audience. In part this is as a result of the limitations of the venue and production budgets although in the Park Theatre’s Building the wall, the claustrophobic confined space of a cell was created much more effectively. 
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