The programme note reads: '5th November 1606 – in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on Parliament, in an atmosphere of suspicion and intolerance, the first bonfire celebrations reach a shocking climax'.
Well, the play never reaches a shocking climax due to the fact that the actors had no idea why they were there. Moreover, I think the audience was in the same boat! This play was unfortunately in the wrong theatre – at a push I could see the production affording some entertainment at a provincial fair or community project as a promenade performance. Here, at Theatre 503 it was not well served. The story and, more importantly, the dialogue by Sara Clifford was forced and unnatural. The actors and the director must have had to work really hard to wade through the clichés and uneven script.
On that note – and I will finish here as I do not want to labour the point – the actors not knowing their lines may be down to the construction of the improbable plot, but it is my guess that the play just is not ready. It is not ready from a writing point of view; from a staging point of view or, indeed, from an acting point of view. I cannot remember the last time I was in a theatre and felt the gasp of an audience as they watched an actor struggle through a scene groping for words – couple that with scene changes that lasted longer than the actual scene itself, and you will get my point: this is not a night out to be recommended on any level.
Gene David Kirk