The Half

*****

Richard Dormer’s solo performance play is an intimate and dramatic study of a 50 year old actor about to take the stage on a first night performance. Guy Masterson as the actor gives a commanding performance under the direction of David Calvitto.

Guy Masterson’s role is hugely demanding because he has to go through a full range of acting styles from physical, farcical comedy to deep pathos. The actor is under severe pressure. He is performing a solo version of Hamlet; he has not acted in front of an audience for 15 years; his marriage has failed and a descent into alcoholism, one senses, is not far away.

The Half is an appropriate title. He addresses his dressing room mirror and battle of wills is being fought out in his mind. Half is trying to be positive whilst the other half fears utter humiliation. A sample of the comedy in the play is his search to ‘touch wood’ to bring good luck but in this modern dressing there is no wood to be found. This contrasts starkly with his depressive state when he contemplates suicide and the lines he quotes from Hamlet echo his state of mind. Tension builds, and will he make it to the stage at the end is the big question.

For many years the productions with which Guy Masterson has been involved have had the hallmarks of quality. This is the first time I have seen him perform and it was truly memorable.

Reviewed by Ben

Assembly 2 Geo Square: 3

1 to 26 August 2012 (not 13)

14.00 – 15.10

Fringe Programme Page Number: 282

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