Brighton Fringe 2010
When All The Crowds Have Gone
Venue: Brighthelm Church and Community Centre
Festival: Brighton Fringe
An intricate story that follows two brothers. One is a successful businessman, the other a very humble writer of biographies. Over a short space of time, their lives change when the writer is asked to write a biography for the businessman. Nothing is personal, purely business. Yet an intense rollercoaster ride takes place and no one is the same again.
The first thing the audience noticed when walking into the performance space was a setting for an ‘in the round’ performance. A modern living room with clean and sharp lines and two very interesting statues of a Buddha and a dragon on the side tables, possibly signifying someone with wealth and extravagance who lived there.
What evolved from this rather flamboyant scene was a subtle and intense piece of theatre from Chris Hislop and Lucy Nordberg, showcasing the journey of human emotions and how far they can be pushed when significant life changing events occur. We as the audience experienced everything all at once – love, business vs. pleasure, jealousy, frivolity vs. simplicity and lust. All because of two brothers coming together to conduct some business in America, despite it being shown as a weekend away essentially.
Geoffrey (younger brother) was given the task of writing the biography of John (older brother). All in all it sounds like a simple task, but as we discovered, the brothers are not that close and have led significantly separate lives. Both Trevor Scales and Bob Gilchrist had a good working relationship during their scenes together and really portrayed the brothers well.
Trevor Scales showed John to be flamboyant and shallow, yet had a really good emotional journey as he disliked the ever growing closeness of his wife Miranda (played by Jessica Jordan-Wrench) and Geoffrey. His intense jealousy was raw and you almost felt sorry for him. The fact that he took you on that journey really shows his passion as an actor. This is someone to watch out for in future productions.
Bob Gilchrist however had a pleasant contrast from John. Geoffrey is shown at first to be the more weak of the two, but it turns out that his journey is one of growth and becoming stronger as a person as he becomes more firm in what he believes in. As you watch Bob’s performance, you can see that his subtlety is very well controlled and as an audience member, you find yourself silently cheering for him – even when he leaves in a dignified manner with his agent wife Helen (played by Valerie Dent), despite finding out she had an affair with John. Again, a very strong actor to look out for in the future.
The whole cast in fact was very strong and no one let themselves down. The only thing is that at the beginning of the piece, the cast need to have more conviction in what they are saying in order to convey the awkwardness of being reunited as a family. Apart from that, every single performance was focussed and extremely enjoyable to watch.
Despite the seriousness of the piece, there were plenty of light hearted comedy moments. This was in particular from the scenes in which we get to meet John’s colleagues and next door neighbours as they plan to do a movie, where a lot of subjects are close to home – sometimes a little too close for comfort. We see this in particular when the pleasantly portrayed Miranda comes into contact with an ‘air-head’ model Candy (wonderfully portrayed by Angelina Purschel). The moments of the serious actress as opposed to the deliberately bad acting of Candy really heighten the comedy of the play within the play as we see some of the movie scenes being demonstrated to the dinner party guests. What really worked in particular with this scene was the way in which everyone was slowly pulled into reading a character from the movie. This not only challenged the characters as people, but it gave a very different insight to the awkwardness of the situation created by all involved.
A special mention has to go to Janine Robins and Chris Jones who play the next door neighbours and daytime chat show celebrites Janet and Franklin. Janet’s cutting edge sarcastic quips as opposed to Franklin’s outrageous and outgoing personality really worked well as a whole and added a new and exciting dynamic to the proceedings. This came to the fore in particular as Franklin’s reputation is at stake after ‘drama lessons’ for Candy. Both actors had a good chemistry between them and one wondered if they were really just good friends and not something else…
When All The Crowds Have Gone is naturalistic theatre at its best. Do not miss this exciting new show.