ComedyDramaReviewSouth West

(F.E.A.R) – The Riverfront, Newport

Writer: Gareth Clark
Director: Agneiszka Blonska
Reviewer: Jacqui Onions

Fear immediately confronts the audience, spelt out in large red letters and placed in the spotlight. All the while, a man in a crocodile mask sits in the shadows – quietly unsettling. This unusual and ever so slightly uncomfortable greeting as you take your seats is the perfect introduction to things to come.

tell-us-block_edited(F.E.A.R.) is a one-man show, presented by Mr and Mrs Clark (Gareth Clark and Marega Palser) and written and performed by Gareth Clark himself. It takes you on a journey through the things that evoke fear and how that fear influences and impacts on our daily lives. Encounters throughout our lifespan are explored; the fear-inducing things people say to children, religion, attaining financial security, terrorism, ageing, health problems – the fears and experiences of everyday life are confronted, making the performance hugely relatable. The vast majority of the experiences described in (F.E.A.R.) could apply to any adult in the audience.

Clark’s writing is intelligent and witty, and he delivers it with a captivating realism. Even at his most surreal, Clark creates a feel of empathy and understanding. You laugh at him, knowingly nod along with his observations, and feel deeply for him all at the same time. The show does become political in places so his views may not be those of everyone’s but this also keeps the show current and applies it to the fears of society in the here and now – an important dialogue to be had.

The whole design of the show has a real artistic quality to it. On the surface, simply a black box studio theatre with the large red letters spelling out fear and a projection screen. The real beauty comes from Marega Palser’s lighting design. Using predominantly white light with the backdrop of the projection screen as her canvas, she creates silhouettes and highlights that look stunning and compliment Clark’s writing and the physical elements of his performance, which have also been choreographed by Palser.

Andrew Rock’s film sequence is a piece of art in itself. It brilliantly summarises and reflects the fears that Clark addresses in the piece and could easily be the images flashing through his mind as he talks.

(F.E.A.R.) is an important and relatable piece of theatre.

Runs until 24 March 2017 | Image: Contributed

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