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Good Night Out presents

THERE WILL BE MORE

 

Writer: Edward Bond

 

Director: Adam Spreadbury-Maher

 

Designer: Julia Berndt

 

Fight Director: Lawrence Carmichael

 

Cock Tavern Theatre

 

29 October – 13 November 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A review by Jafar Iqbal for EXTRA! EXTRA!

Post-modern. Site specific. New age. Abstract. Just some of the words floating around the stage these days, as the theatre world moves alongside an ever-changing real world. And yet, though these terms get thrown around quite often (many of which I’m convinced I still don’t understand), and though we’re constantly looking for that new breed of writing talent, it’s the exact opposite that has everyone excited right now. Enter, Edward Bond. That’s right - The Edward Bond. Even after a roughly 50-year career, this enigmatic and controversial playwright continues to create the buzz he did all those years ago. From plays that have outraged audiences to plays held up as dramatic genius, Bond is a consistently brilliant playwright.

Want proof? Take a trip down to The Cock Tavern in Kilburn. After a season of performances celebrating six decades of his work we finish with There Will Be More, Bond’s new play, and, fortunately, age has not slowed him down. Set in an undetermined place, we follow the life of a family over eighteen years. The first act sees Dea (Helen Bang) heinously murder her two babies for what is seemingly, no reason. Upon finding out, husband Johnson (Stephen Billington) rapes her in an act of rage and revenge. Post-interval, we are propelled eighteen years in time, where husband and wife are reunited after Dea had been taken away. Memories of the past have not been forgotten, though, and it’s this that carries us through the rest of the production.

In true Edward Bond fashion, There Will Be More balances realistic brutality with a sharp and witty script. The play does not leave much to the imagination – violence and sex are seen on stage in their entirety, creating an uncomfortable and disturbing atmosphere. Credit has to go to the cast for this, to have the strength and determination to carry out these acts night after night. But, then, that is what you come to expect with a stellar cast, and this is nothing but a stellar cast.

Playing both victim and perpetrator with equal brilliance, Helen Bang is phenomenal. There is a haunting quality to her presence on the stage, and we are drawn to her immediately. Dea is quiet, oppressed, frustrated, and Bang portrays her meltdown expertly. On the other side is Stephen Billington, playing the role of her oppressive and power-seeking husband with just as much quality. Despite being the man who has been wronged we can’t help but despise Johnson, his acts of violence ruthless and the most disturbing of all. Key to the play is son Oliver, played by Timothy O’Hara, and the actor is sensational. Playing off the anger and frustration of the two parents, his quietly conflicted character is complex yet lovable, and O’Hara manages to express it beautifully. Hatty Jones and Glenn Hanning cameo in short roles and, though I question their need in the production when the characters could so easily not been there, they are good when on stage.

Adam Spreadbury-Maher’s direction also needs to be given a lot of praise, especially considering he had to deal with some very intense scenes. As well as handling those moments with great maturity, it is those scenes where the actors simply sit and talk that the director’s strength shines through. Yes, the actors are fantastic at what they do, but it is clear that the ability to maintain that sense of intensity and brutality through the physical into the vocal is a quality brought out of them by the director. He also uses the space as well as he can, leaving it quite minimal, other than the bare essentials, not letting the audience’s focus move away from the performances.

There Will Be More is all about the performances. From Bond’s script to Spreadbury-Maher’s vision to the actors’ interpretation, we have characters that are fascinating to watch. And each level of that process of creation excels where it needs to, with Bond at the top. This is a man still able to produce a high-quality piece of theatre after fifty years. We may always need to look for the next batch of playwrights, and there may always be that need to take theatre into a new plain, but plays like this one (and playwrights like Edward Bond) prove that there is still a place for hard-hitting and brutal theatre. It’s worked for fifty years and, in my opinion, won’t ever stop.

 

 

Tickets: £12.00 - £5   Booking fee applies: Age 18+

Season Tickets: £58 / £48 concessions

The Cock Tavern Theatre, 125 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 6JH

Box Office: 0844 477 1000

 

http://www.ticketweb.co.uk

http://www.cocktaverntheatre.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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