Saturday, 14 June 2014
Theatre review: Mugs Arrows
The Old Red Lion has regularly staged the works of Philip Ridley, so the mix of oddness, sudden violence, and menace with a vague hint of the supernatural about it feels at home on its stage, but Mugs Arrows never quite has the sense of purpose or inner logic of Ridley's plays.
It's well-performed, Wilde in particular contributing a particular brand of sinister enthusiasm, and always entertaining to watch. But although the play reveals itself to be a riff on men threatened when a woman gets between them and one of their friends, anything more specific remains elusive: Elks' style is surreal to the point of being wilfully obscure, and it kept me from becoming entirely involved in the story. It's also not quite the black comedy the publicity would suggest - there's some strong moments of humour here, but really it's a sometimes very dark drama, with a number of animals coming to unpleasant ends in the anecdotes Pat and Ed recount. The production, though, which McClymont also directs, is taut and has some moments of eerie tension, and the opening sequence, lit by Christopher Nairne and introducing us to the space, is very cleverly conceived and perfectly executed.
Mugs Arrows by Eddie Elks is booking until the 21st of June at the Old Red Lion Theatre.
Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes straight through.