Sunday, 6 April 2014
Theatre review: Almost Near
The two stories are linked by one of the dead soldiers, Kev aka Princess (Adam Philps.) Prior to joining the army he was a model who posed for Louise's sculpture, before embarking on a brief affair with her.
There's a great quartet of performances from Philps, Tom McCall as Nicey, Oliver Mott as Chips and Amy Loughton as their leader, Jackson. The ghostly soldiers have grisly injuries - Kev has a gaping head wound, Nicey's guts are spilling out, Jackson has an arm missing and Chips bled to death - which they initially use to play ghoulish tricks on each other. As the reality that their lives are over starts to sink in though, so does a calm that their pain and stresses are over with them.
It's a contrast to the scenes back in England, where Laura and Ed try to adjust to their post-breakup lives and worry about the mental wellbeing of their son Jeff (Andrew Gilbert.) Their own concerns though have stopped them from realising quite how disturbed he actually is, or how Jeff's imaginary friend Buddy is connected to a local junkie (Mariam Haque.)
Perhaps scale is what Almost Near is about, the difference between the actual severity of a situation and how much significance we place on it. But I wouldn't want to try and pin the play's meaning down any more than that: It's interesting, and Audrey Sheffield's production has a lot of strong moments, but the play's meaning is deliberately, sometimes frustratingly obscure.
Almost Near by Pamela Carter is booking in repertory until the 15th of April at the Finborough Theatre.
Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes straight through.