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The Upstairs Room at the Kings Head Theatre

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 18th Nov 2012 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin
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I feel so much like I’m made of glass. I splinter and break.

The London premiere of David K. O'Hara’s play takes us to an apocalyptic world. London is sinking; desperate people are throwing themselves off tall buildings, their brains eaten away by the constant acid rain. Everybody is trying to escape. 

Gordon, an American writer, is holed up in the decrepit attic room of a half-way house - a “holding place for those who seek a way out”. He is waiting for his forged travel documents from the Manager of the establishment and has prepared a cock-and-bull story for the authorities so he’ll be allowed to leave the country. Desperate to write, he rolls toilet paper into his typewriter. Gordon’s determination to leave is shaken when the Manager returns with Stella, a mysterious woman who was attacked by the Underground. Gordon feels strangely attracted to her. After some minor and major disagreements, they are beginning to bond. At this point Iris, a sprightly young girl, appears. She seems to know more about them than they do and shows them a way back to their pasts.

The small stage is perfectly suited for David O’Hara’s claustrophobic play. A dirty toilet with paper strewn all over the miniscule bathroom is separated by a flimsy curtain from the rest of the dingy room that is furnished with two sofas and a slide projector (set design: Holly A. Seager). Video and photographic projections provide a view into Gordon’s past and add to the narrative. The story itself is nicely told with a surprise ending. Lucy Wray almost steals the show as the energetic Iris as she explodes into the budding relationship between Gordon and Stella. Anthony Cozens is very good as the world weary writer but there is little chemistry between him and Liza Callinicos who plays the volatile Stella. Bret Jones convinces as the dubious Manager.    

By Carolin Kopplin

 

Until 8 December 2012

The King’s Head Theatre

Comments

2 Comments

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Sci-fi dystopia? What a weekend you have had! Great review, Carolin.
  • Carolin Kopplin
    by Carolin Kopplin 5 years ago
    Thanks. I saw a LOT of plays last week.
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