Brighton FringeDramaReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: Dangled – The Warren Studio 2

Writer: Louis Viljoen
Performer: Rob van Vuuren
Reviewer: James Napleton

Profane and maniacal, Dangled is a full-throttled exposition of a deviant inner psyche.

The script, created by writer Louis Viljoen, is an adaptation of the short story Diary of a Madman by 19th-century Russian author Nikolai Gogol.

The scene opens to a man writing at his desk that then puts down his pencil only for it to roll away down the camber of the table and onto the floor. This act of inanimate defiance is all that is required to rupture the delicate border that separates this man from madness. He then abandons his writing project and begins to tell a story to the audience of the first time he met a beautiful girl named Sophie. However, this is no usual storytelling routine, the protagonist is frenetic and maniacal as he stalks the stage screaming and shouting with wildly inventive profanity and poetic turns of phrase. The performance is utterly absorbing, played at such a formidable speed it’s all the audience can do to just keep up with his invective.

The script has been modernised through the wonderful addition of the inventive, colourful language that features throughout the play. The opening moments of the play, the wild performance of Rob van Vuuren coupled with the hyperbolic language and rich turns of phrase make the play feel very much like a comedy. The intensity of the performance means that often the audience burst out in laughter just from nervous energy, let alone the comic and ridiculous moments that this play offers. The power of the script and the speed and fluency of the performance mean that the audience never seems steady, they seem utterly unsure of where the play is leading. This is just as well for the opening moments of mirth and shock are misleading, and the play takes a turn into darkness and depravity.

Dangled is a staggering experience, a really superb performance that succeeds in keeping an incredibly intense atmosphere for its entire 45 minute run time. The play is ultimately a very harrowing experience, however, it is administered with expertise.

Reviewed on 23 May 2017 then runs again 29-30 May 2017 at The Warren  |  @brightonfringe

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