With the Edinburgh Festival starting imminently, theatre companies are flocking northward to present their latest performative offerings. Dozens of venues and hundreds of shows means that there will be rather a lot for the discerning audience member to sift through. To help in the hunt, we will be presenting a series of ‘One’s to Watch’. First, we have Who’s Dorian Gray? from Empty Photo Theatre.
Who’s Dorian Gray?
Review by Pauline Stobbs
Ah, the world of flat sharing. Whether it’s trying to create some sort of livable co-existence with the weirdo across the hall or witnessing your best friend transform into a washing-up tyrant, modern day living arrangements can be a heinous battleground.
Many of us will be able to sympathise with the setting of “Who’s Dorian Gray?”; three mates trying to navigate post university life. Beyond friendship & relationships, sexual politics, power struggles and even the art of living a ‘successful life’ all come into scrutiny in this intelligent offering.
Empty Photo Theatre, the company behind this production, is gaining a reputation for strong writing and subtle direction. The script is well crafted, offering a balancing act between total absorption of the plot and recognition of moments of spoken word eloquence. The direction was delicate, and excellently complimented the dialogue. Abigail’s small winces from putting on last night’s heels on the morning after perfectly illustrate that clearly regrettable choice. Particularly strong performances came from Antony Portsmouth as anxious, passive aggressive Dom and James Hartman as infuriating blaggard Ed.
While each of the actors performed well, the casting let the show down slightly. Compliment or criticism, all of the actors looked about 20 and this confused the dynamics between the characters who were meant to be a few years past graduation; most notably between Dom and his motherly, 30 something older sister who both looked like contemporaries.
‘Who’s Dorian Gray?’ is another strong, poetic offering from Empty Photo Theatre. I’d like to see this play at the end of the Fringe after a rigorous three weeks, when the push and pull of each dialogue is sharpened and the long pauses ever more poignant.
Hailing from Kent, Empty Photo Theatre aim to create theatre with a leaning towards psychological realism.
Who is Dorian Gray? is being performed between 2-26 August 2012 (excl. Thursdays) at Edinburgh City Football Club, Room 1, 11pm.
Pauline Stobbs, writer, comedienne and PR whiz, is an Annexe regular with a penchant for snappy theatre.