November 23, 2007

A few Reviews

4 out of 5 stars

  With the terrific promotion that Edmond has had, I don't think any member of the audience was expecting anything less than a slick and professional student production. What the spectators ultimately ended up with was, in fact, much more: this captivating and invigorating journey into a troubled mind left me not only terrified and disorientated, but ultimately moved.

  The play chronicles Edmond's escape from a boring life with a spouse that no longer interests him into a world of violence, racism and sexuality, dragging the audience through the frantic New York underworld. While the set-up of the man leaving his mundane existence to find self-fulfilment seems unoriginal, what he finds is never less than shocking. The winning aspect of the play is that what Edmond comes to term with is both disturbing and truthful, grounded firmly in reality by a high-quality cast: the ascension of homophobia and racism in the main character comes across not just as madness, but as a sickness shared by society, propagated by it's stifling rules that has immersed Edmond in confusion. 

  What the performance hinges upon is the nature of promenade theatre, where the audience follows the scenes in different parts of the room. What this means is that one moment you are looking at Edmond in a bar, then another scene may start up behind you and you find yourself staring straight at a pole dancer: although this means that I had poor visibility for some sections of the play, craning my neck over audience members, it was extremely effective in making the audience feel trapped in Edmond's warped world and helping us to understand him. He was not only our main character: he was our tour guide through hell.

  While the main thread of the story, following him about as he meets new characters that he will either abuse or be abused by, starts to feel tired, the ending comes as an ingenious move by playwright Mamet, throwing the whole play into perspective and finally explaining the poster's tagline: every fear hides a wish. Not only bringing the story's fable-like nature to a conclusion, it also adequately serves as a description of the play itself: no matter how scared or shocked, you will want to see this performance again. 


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