Sunday, 7 December 2014

'Silent Planet' Finborough Theatre ***

More frequently, playwrights do find it problematic in being able to discover a platform in which to stage their work. The Finborough Theatre’s ethos is to stage plays that are either pieces of vibrant new writing, and unique rediscoveries. Eve Leigh’s first full-length play, ‘Silent Planet’ was one that's well-developed, and comfortably characterised. ‘Silent Planet’ is set during the summit of the Cold War, where we are acquainted with rebellious writer, Gavrill, who is facing a lengthy stretch in a mental health prison. However, the main reason as to why he's in there is because literature is a hypothetically corrupting influence, but he can relax slightly there as he has open access to the prison library, under the watchful eye of the prison guards. Weekly, Gavrill has meetings with interrogator, Yurchak who surreptitiously requests that Gavrill reads one of the books in the library, each week, and is the purpose of these discussions are to deal with the political meanings behind the writers’ notions; in particular contemporary writers premonitions of the Cold War itself. Yurchak develops a colossal fascination in Gavrill’s passion towards literature, but he realises that he must maintain his professionalism at all times, and when one of the prison guards enters the room he vindictively demeans Gavrill, and demands that he be sent into a torturous like scenario, he soon apologises to him because of Yurchak’s action. Over the course of the play, we witnessed Gavrill's mental episodes where there is a mixture of seizures and twitches, which enable Yurchak’s delicate side to exude; one such aspect is when he offers Gavrill some scraps of quite luxurious food as a way to apologies to him for his ruthless nature at points. It appears that Gavrill has been speaking to someone else during these sessions, which leads to his ultimate downfall. Leigh’s narrative is increasingly inquisitive as we are taken on a journey of a cerebrally insane man, who seeks gargantuan comfort in reading literature, as his creativity has become dented because he is forbidden to write a single piece of literature. One found the performances by the company of ‘Silent Planet’ were appropriately conveyed, and the delivery of the penetrating moments was quite compelling. Greame McKnight is superb as the prisoner writer, Gavrill; specifically when he explains the importance and freedom to read novels as a way to express your individuality, additionally, the movements of the character’s metal episodes were executed with such panache. Matthew Thomas is rousing as Gavrill’s interrogator, Yurchak; principally when he violently punches Gavrill in the mouth, which does create a quite shocking moments within the performance. Tom Mansfield’s direction is tremendous here as his analysis of the writers’ vision has been dealt with careful ease and understanding, as well as, his companies characterisations have been directed elegantly over the duration whole presentation. Petra Hjortsberg’s design is pleasant and simplistically chilling as the atmosphere in the intimate space enables one to sympathise with Gavrill’s plight as a writer excluded from being accepted in a corrupted scenario. Moreover, the choice of instilling a slight Orwellian influence was principally effective too. Overall, one found the experience of ‘Silent Planet’ to be an enjoyable one, but some aspects of this production needs improvement slightly.

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