Writer: Mark Ravenhill
Director: Caroline Steinbeis
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
The latest offering from prolific playwright Mark Ravenhill, Show 6, is a piece that can, at times, be as oblique as its title. Set in a dystopian world where the “haves” are spoiled, drug-addled and bored and the “have not’s” are of no concern, Steven Webb’ central character embarks on a journey to know himself better, spurred on by half-asked questions that remain half-answered.
Ravenhill’s script is, as expected, skilfully written. The disjointed, fragmented dialogue retains ambiguity and is well handled by the three strong cast, however it often feels like style over content. References to the ‘favella’ and whispers that the central character’s parents “are not his parents” evoke impressions of Chilean children piecing together the lives they thought they knew, but lacks any emotional depth save Webb’s last tortured moments on stage.
With dashes of the playwright’s experience of a medically induced coma mixed in, this muddled melange has just enough mystery to keep you engaged, but not enough content to fully satisfy. Questions about what constitutes memory or reality and what would happen if you were made to radically challenge yours are certainly interesting, and this could perhaps be the start of a bigger, more fully-realised piece. The Paines Plough Roundabout is a superb setting, and Caroline Steinbeis has made good use of both space and cast to create a stylish world for the piece that is significantly ‘other’.
Stylish and smart, but lacking in substance.
Runs until 17thAug