Writer: Katy Matthews
Director: Judey Bignell
Reviewer: Glen Pearce
The mind is a strange beast. Are we in control of our minds or are we prisoners of them? It’s a subject that forms the central paradox in Katy Matthew’s Stones, performed at Brighton Fringe by Artlandish Productions.
A prisoner sits hooded and chained in a cell, his brothers apparently having died in the same cell. In delirium caused by his isolation he still sees and communicates with his kin until a woman enters his cell to bring hope.
Or does she? Is she a figment of his imagination or he a figment of hers? It’s an intriguing concept, layers of mystery wrapped around each other and slowly unfurled.
Sadly, it never quite makes the leap from page to fully engaging theatre. Matthews’ script sounds for all the world like a period melodrama, and while in keeping with the period it somewhat distracts in a live theatre setting.
The cast (Chris Gates, Emma Howarth, Trefor Levins and John Black) do their best to bring some depth to the characters but the style and constraints of the source material limits the impact.
There are moments when the piece seems to be on the verge of making a much needed dramatic peak, Rose’s revelations of her troubled past (and possibly present) for example, but the dialogue and direction (Judey Bignell directing) never allows that dramatic potential to flourish.
There is some strong wordplay here but wordplay that is better suited to the page, or if given dramatic voice then arguably as a radio play. As a stage play, however, Stones is weighed down and never really takes flight.
Runs 5-8 May 2017 at Rialto Theatre | Image: Contributed
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