Bright is the Ring of Words

Three Stars

***

Jeffrey Mayhew’s play is an uncompromising yet poignant drama putting together two men who could not be more different. John, played by the author, is living in a dingy bed-sit. He is an aging alcoholic who was once on the verge of international fame as an opera singer. Stanley (John Garfield-Roberts) is a young man who has experienced a violent working class upbringing. Following an act of mindless vandalism, he enters John’s life through a community service order which involves cleaning John’s bed-sit.

John’s existence is almost at rock bottom. He makes no effort to look after himself even to the extent of keeping himself clean. Stanley’s visit on this occasion is to prepare John for the visit of his daughter. Their conversation centres on John’s pathetically few possessions – a few photographs and a pair of lacy knickers. Despite John’s situation, Stanley has a touching regard for the man. John is full of self pity, throwing in acerbic comments about the people in his life during the better times. His observations may be humorous but we can feel little sympathy for the man himself. Movingly, Stanley has spent his own money preparing a buffet tea but John’s selfishness destroys his good intentions.

This production is an interesting take on the age old theme of talent being wilfully squandered and the resultant pathetic decline of an individual whose life could have achieved so much.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number – Pleasance Courtyard; V33

Dates – 4 to 30 August 2010 (not 17)

Times – 15.25 to 16.30

Fringe Programme Page Number: 234

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