Ordinary Darkness at the Hen and Chickens
The stage is set with polythene-wrapped furniture, awkwardly strung fairy lights and paint-splattered plastic sheet walls. The lights go down and the party is about to begin…
Two-time Playmarket Young Playwright of the Year award-winner Sarah Robertson’s Ordinary Darkness presents the audience with a macabre look into a dark social divide in today’s society. Downstairs in the Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar, the atmosphere is cosy; the room is warm, the lighting ambient and the box office staff cheery. However, take a trip upstairs and the cramped, gloomy theatre is a world away, providing the perfect setting for such dark material.
Ordinary Darkness weaves together the tale of Flic, Becca and Max’s sinister friendship. When Max brings home “Yuppie” Mr Banbury for a party, truths are told, tempers flare and just desserts are supposedly served. The production by Shaky Isles Theatre is clearly well thought out, though the intention behind it only manages faintly to materialise. A stand-out point of the performance is the imaginative choreography; by using spoken stage directions, Robertson merges sex and violence as one and the same thing. Mary Poppins-esque piano-playing and crude lines spoken in sing-song voices add an eerie air of innocence to the sadistic plot, leaving the audience immersed between the childish mind of Becca (an intriguing performance by Constance Tancredi-Brice) and the terrifyingly violent acts the group perform on the wealthy Mr Banbury.
The group’s tirade against the rich leaves the audience somewhat waning. The plot is well structured but not entirely gripping, and there seems to be little depth to its inspiration: the revenge of the poor in a corrupt society.
Worth a watch for the innovative use of choreography and imagery, Ordinary Darkness has its intriguing moments of direction and clever use of speech, though it doesn’t look promising to rake in the masses for its political reasoning.
Ordinary Darkness is at the Hen and Chickens until 1st December 2012. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.