‘The Silence of Snow’ was the latest instalment in BLT’s Sunday Night offerings. If you are not familiar with them, do take note of them as they provided a rich and diverse range of entertainment.
This was an accomplished piece of dramatized story telling. At times, a ‘regular’ play yet, with frequent breaches of the fourth wall, the audience were drawn into the story telling.
The play starts with a bone-chilling uncertainty – mist hangs, literally, in the auditorium (the smoke machine was working overtime) – as a man awaiting electro-convulsive therapy in a mental hospital, manically and seemingly malevolently, begins his tale. And so it unfolded – the life and times of Patrick Hamilton. A difficult early life, career successes, serious injury, marital failure and an ultimate failure to find a meaning for his life. Even the ECT intended to be the solution to all his problems fails and he dies at age 58
The play was witty throughout, especially the sex scene which left everything to the imagination as the stage became, deliberately, pitch black. Pitch black too was the tone sometimes; a strong existential dilemma was woven through the plot – how could a life be lived well and happily? Patrick Hamilton did not find the answer and we witnessed his descent into alcoholism and death.
Mark Farrelly, who wrote this play, plays more than half a dozen parts, slipping comfortably and plausibly between them in rapid succession. Nice touches (for example, little hand gestures) to the characterisation made the individuals believable, whilst enunciation was always clear and easy to hear. The performance was very confidently presented although the play might have benefited from being slightly compressed in its second half. Staging was excellent. The set intended for the production of Patrick Hamilton’s ‘Gaslight’ doubled perfectly for this play. There was dynamic use of lights by Jess Jenner and sound effects were ably managed by Edie Nelson.
The next “Sunday Night at BLT” , “The Antiques Stageshow” is on Sunday 9 December. Tim Anthonisz, a one time valuer on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, will talk about his life in antiques, and will value items brought by the audience (£5.00 per item). Book your tickets as normal and register your item when you arrive at the show.