Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Theatre review: Bottleneck
There's a lot of drama about people recovering from adversity and gaining strength from their experience, but Barnes' monologue deals with the less palatable fact that sometimes a tragic event can derail someone's life permanently. It's given a more emotionally devastating punch by the lively and likeable - even if his idea of fun tends to be closer to crime than high-jinks - Greg we meet in the first half of the play.
Cooney gives a powerful performance, that brings a lot of humour in Greg's teenage confusions, crushes and odd preoccupation with tea-cakes, as well as his taking on all the other characters, from the lisping Tom and sassing Sarah-Jane, to Greg's dad - though I'm not sure if the latter's sounding like Ringo Starr was intentional or not. He's equally good once the major event (Barnes' script has a nice red herring early on to avoid spoiling it) takes its devastating toll and makes you genuinely worry for the characters. A bleak coda delivers a final sucker-punch in a story that crams in a lot about a city, it's people, and the hopes of an entire section of society, packaged in a powerful play with a gripping performance.
Bottleneck by Luke Barnes is booking until the 9th of March at Soho Theatre Upstairs; then touring to Oxford, Watford, Colchester, Folkestone, Canterbury and Norwich.
Running time: 1 hour 5 minutes straight through.