Brighton Fringe 2007
“If God gave me the chance to see evil, then I would look at it. And that is a terrible thing to know about oneself.”
Wildwood Park is a house with secrets, and this production, which premiered at London’s Bridewell Theatre in 2006, creates an eerie atmosphere to great success in a staging that puts the audience in the shadowy heart of Wildwood’s corridors and rooms.
NoAgenda Theatre deliver the goods with a bold production, bare and economical in staging, rich and engaging in performance.
This is a very sharply directed piece by director Sian Webber. She has created a very minimal staging where focus is on the dialogue between two excellent performers, who begin the piece delivering the play besuited and in sunglasses.
We do not see their eyes until many minutes into the piece, yet the the voice work sets a mood almost from the start. The mood does take a little while to fully take hold, perhaps because of the distance of audience from stage, and the reliance on voice and stance, rather than eyes. But when the glasses do come off, there’s a real impact.
The circular space of the ground floor Arts Club venue is fully and appropriately used (aisles are corridors of the house, theatre steps are house steps) and we are convincingly located as an audience in the heart of this house of secrets, a house which hides a story that is hinted at, and then slowly revealed as this 40 minute story unfolds.
Sometimes the accents stumble, but the dialogue is of such a high quality that the writing really shines through these performances. I also adored some of the pauses, and the intensity of eye contact and clever, effective timing. The play seemed just a little rushed in places; it would benefit from slowing down just a bit
I hope this play tours further and is able to play venues with more lighting to work with. Caron McNish has charisma, Derek Horsham brings the required amount of poise which contrasts well with Caron’s duality of self-control and obsessiveness with Wildwood Park, and both performers deliver the goods with sinister undertones and no small amount of comic timing, in a play that is bare in its venue, yet rich in nuance.
I spoke to several audience members afterwards who praised the piece for its intensity, and also its excellent dialogue.
Well worth catching on tour somewhere soon.