Review – Bobby Gould in Hell

August 14, 2013 | By | Reply More

✭✭✭✩✩  Entertaining moral speculation

Paul King, Scott Oakley and Daniel Dyer in Bobby Gould in Hell. Photo © Northern Spark Theatre Company

Paul King, Scott Oakley and Daniel Dyer in Bobby Gould in Hell. Photo © Northern Spark Theatre Company

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39)
Sun 4 – Sat 24 August 2013 (even days)
Review by Mark Bolsover

David Mamet’s tongue-in-cheek thought experiment on speech, action, the nature of the conscience and atonement is given an engaging and energetic production by New Celts Productions and Northern Spark Theatre Company.

Arriving on the outskirts of hell, Bobby Gould must admit to and come to terms with his moral nature and the wrongs committed in his relationship with Genna.

The play is well-staged in theSpace’s black box. The simple staging with a lone grey armchair, costume and some clever lighting cues and sound effects works well.

Though at times rather overplayed for laughs, with an emphasis on physical humour bordering on farce, the young cast do well in understanding and framing the intelligent and though-provoking debates at stake in the text. Director Robin Wilson ensures that there is good energy and pacing throughout.

Danny Hutton gives a charming performance as Bobby Gould. Kizzy Lindsay gives a good, energetic comic turn as Genna: the girl he has, in some not fully disclosed way, wronged. Without a great deal of direct communication between the two, their relationship is articulated through allusion, suggestion and their respective relationships to the Interrogator and his assistant, and this develops well in this production.

Paul McCloud gives a solid performance as the comic relief assistant. However, Scott Oakley is slightly flat as the Interrogator and the character could do with more energy, articulacy and intensity.

At the play’s heart lies a thought experiment: if offered the opportunity to be removed from life – to admit our culpability for our own thoughts, words and deeds and to return to a fully conscious awareness of the past, divested of the burden of a guilty conscience, free to learn from our experiences and (ultimately) do good – would we be good enough to accept?

Hutton does well as a belligerent Gould, slowly coming to a realisation of his essential moral nature. Despite the quite crude, bawdy farce that this production leans towards, the playing out of the experiment is very effective.

Running time 1hr
Sun 4 – Sat 24 August 2013
Even days only, 3.50pm.
theSpace on the Mile, 80 High Street, EH1 1TH
Tickets from: www.edfringe.com
Company website: www.northernsparktheatre.com

ENDS

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