Floodgate

August 24, 2022 | By More

★★★★☆      Surprising

theSpace @ Niddry St (Venue 9): Mon 22 – Sat 27 Aug 2022
Review by Thom Dibdin

Theatre Paradok’s Floodgate, at theSpace @ Niddry Street for the last week of the Fringe, is a confrontationally challenging examination of the possible effects of climate change.

In a deftly worked three hander, three siblings are re-united at their mother’s childhood home, asked to return there to sort through their recently deceased grandmother’s hoarded boxes before the family leave the house.

Rory McKeon in Floodgate. Pic William Nye

Writer and director William Nye sets his pallet out clearly and cleanly, with the arrival of each sibling gradually revealing more about their situation.

Kiara Mason’s idealistic Nia is first on the scene, discovering and opening the box which her doting gran has marked for her. In it, crucially, is her grandmother’s journal, its first entry written by her as a young girl, on the exact day of the performance.

Mason handles the tricky light-coming-out-of-a-box opening moment well, in a move that demands sleight of hand rather than relying on technical wizardry. She develops a warm, relatable character as she reads exerts from the journal to herself and champions her beloved grandmother in the face of her older siblings’ cynicism.

spiky, formidable team

Rory McKeon as the self-obsessed Eli and Natalie Lewis as the oldest, control-freak Alex, make a spiky, formidable team: aloof and only there on sufferance. Nicely judged costume and hairstyle choices give them a believable futuristic look without making a big deal of it.

Kiara Mason in Floodgate. Pic William Nye

Nye and co director Ruby Dalry use the tricky low stage and large thrust area well, with the focus of the action being the large mound of boxes the three are there to sort through.

The revelation of the truth of the future world is well enough done, both through the arguments between the three and from the journal. It all seems to be toddling along predictably enough,but as a piece of theatre it steps into a completely different space when Nia gets to their grandmother’s final entry.

anger

Instead of the expected sympathy for the recently dead, there is anger. Real anger. Anger enough to set the fourth wall crumbling, in what is a bold and suitably unsettling move for the audience.

While Nye doesn’t quite know where to take that anger next, that is largely the point. Platitudes are redundant and doing nothing is capitulation.

In a time of great turmoil, and many distracting disasters competing for our support there is really only one which counts. This nicely judged production wears its rather slight drama well, but excels in its final revelation.

Running time 50 minutes (no interval)
theSpace @ Niddry St (Upper Theatre), Niddry St, EH1 1TH (Venue 9).
Monday 22 – Saturday 27 August 2022
Daily at 20:00
Information and tickets: Book here.

Company website: https://theatreparadok.co.uk/
Instagram: @theatreparadok
Facebook: @theatreparadok
Twitter: @theatreparadok

Natalie Lewis in Floodgate. Pic William Nye

ENDS

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