Country Music at Omnibus Theatre
On the dark and derelict streets of Gravesend, in 1983, Jamie (Cary Crankson) has committed a crime, a crime that will not only shape the course of his own life but those of his nearest and dearest too. Once notorious, the young lad now has one final chance to follow the path of sobriety. Will he succeed, or will he let his past get in the way?
Country Music makes its long-awaited comeback at the Omnibus Theatre following a successful run at The Royal Court in 2004, where it opened to critical acclaim. Written by the brilliant Simon Stephens, whose masterful storytelling has his characters deliver method-like performances which enable audience members to gain a snippet of what life is like in the eyes of a psychopath, the playwright incites an immensely visceral experience from every scene setup he bestows – be it through lengthy silences or fist-fighting tension. Contrary to the generic plot structure of a beginning, middle and an end, the playwright jumbles up the order so as to build a greater nostalgic feel to the penultimate and final sequences of the show.
Much of the atmosphere is produced by the production’s lighting and set design. With a projector depicting black and white images of Gravesend’s streets from the 80s through to the early 2000s, coupled with bold lighting modifications each time there is a scene change, one really senses Jamie’s trajectory as he goes from being a young and dangerous inmate to a mature citizen who now tries to rekindle his relationship with teenage daughter Emma (Frances Knight). Crankson is an absolute delight to watch. His talent in making viewers loathe him one minute and love him the next, especially during those moving scenes when he attempts to hang on to every ounce of hope he has in being able to see his family again, is tough to watch and a testament to the versatility of his enormous acting ability. The performance is a gift to the world of theatre: effortlessly pure, beautifully true.
Photo: Bonnie Britain
Country Music is at Omnibus Theatre from 29th May until 23rd June 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.