A review by Leanne Robinson for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 


The Watcher

 

 

by Jeremy Paul


Directed by Roger Martin


Waterloo East Theatre


23 March – 23 April 2011

 

A stimulating voyage of psychological discovery, suspense and drama, The Watcher achieves a deliciously uneasy relationship between actor and audience. Combined with the eager anticipation of being both challenged and entertained, Jeremy Paul’s thriller does not disappoint. Intelligent dialogue and subtle shifts of theatrical temperament guide you through a gambit of emotion, forcing the examination of self, strength of character and the ability, whether consciously or subconsciously, to manipulate and deceive one another through the perilous power of sexual intrigue and gender, from simmering flirtation, to something more extreme.

Sonia, an attractive woman in her thirties, is discovered sunbathing alone by a solitary man, Kevin. Masterful direction by Roger Martin guides us through the sinister meeting of minds that ensues, as the strangers observe each other and reveal uncomfortable truths about their circumstances and how they have come to meet. Fate, or are there ulterior motives at work? The course of a day is displayed in two scenes, each forty-five minutes in length, with the audience cleverly made aware through subtle changes of costume, the adding of a cardigan or jumper, that the day is ending.

Actors Sarah Manners (who has stepped in to replace Donna Air due to injury) and Jon Shaw excel in enticing us into their respective worlds, so unexpectedly intertwined, so we have little choice but to become voyeurs ourselves, transfixed observers of the battle of wits and sexual politics divulging itself upon the stage. Discerning design of set further establishes the sense that we are witnessing a forbidden event. The warm, summer park is draped in black cloth. Who knows who might be watching in secret, within the dark folds? A camera, integral to the plot and used by both characters, has occasion to turn its’ all-seeing eye upon the audience. We must take a look at ourselves. Seemingly safe within the confines of the theatre, our vulnerability is displayed before us, bringing to question the everyday risks that we subject ourselves to. Can we truly know anybody well enough to trust them implicitly with so precious a commodity as our lives?

Thrilling also is the atmosphere of sitting in one’s own inner sanctum, in fact, happily situated underneath an unused railway arch. Waterloo East Theatre which opened on 2nd of September 2010, spanned six months from discovery, through to construction and completion. Brainchild of producer Gerald Armin, the first season has been witness to sell-out performances, with The Watcher very successfully opening the second season. Intimate, secluded and welcoming, the space creates an air of exclusivity while the sound of rumbling trains beautifully adds to the atmosphere, a distant thunder threatening to storm. The noise penetrates the walls and makes the spine tingle.

Although the finale of the play appears definite and resolute, an unending barrage of questions linger upon the mind long after the performance has ended, so we are left to dwell over and discuss what has just passed. Intelligent, engrossing and thought provoking, seething with twists, turns and intrigues, only one-question remains…Who is the fisherman?



BOX OFFICE: 02079280060
BOOK ONLINE AT: WWW.WATERLOOEAST.CO.UK
  
  WATERLOO EAST THEATRE,   
BRAD STREET,
LONDON,
SE1

Tickets £15/£12 Concessions
Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm
Saturday matinee 4.00pm
NO PERFORMANCES 4TH-10TH OF APRIL

 


 


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