desperance (desperance) wrote,

Urk. And a review.

I has no voice to praise my boys
(or indeed chastise 'em)!
They cannot tell I love them well,
Nor quite how much I prize 'em...


Yesterday was all about swallowing overdoses of chemicals (pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, largely [curious: LJ's native spellchecker knows the latter but not the former...]), in a desperate attempt to get through the night's performance of "A Cold Coming" without my coming cold interfering too badly. The cast tells me I sounded like death (ho ho ho), but that was only breathing: I barely coughed, didn't sneeze and my nose behaved immaculately for the requisite hour and a half, so that's okay.

Last night I barely slept and today I have no voice, apparently, but no matter for that. The play is over, done. And if I can't speak, I can at least type: here's a review. (Which is the second time the Sunderland Echo has reviewed it, yay! Doesn't seem to be online, though, hence the typing...)

A man lies centre stage, attached to a drip and appearing comatose - or is he dead?

That's the mysterious scene that meets the audience as they arrive for A Cold Coming, and draws them into the intense and intriguing play.

This is small-scale theatre worthy of the big stage, crafted by veteran novelist Chaz Brenchley and looking into what is still a taboo subject.

Quin is dying of Aids and the return of his partner Michael, who has been working in Kyoto, also brings back years of emotional baggage.

Quin may lie centre stage throughout, and it is his gradual physical and mental decay, now in its final stages, that are the focus of the play.

But A Cold Coming is more about the people Quin means so much to than the man himself.

His friends, colleagues and a PhD student he mentored - and of course his partner Michael - all reveal what part he played in their lives, for better or worse.

The cast is made up of actors who will be familiar to North-East theatregoers, and here they put in some of their best performances yet.

Of course it is Michael, perfectly played by Sean Kenney, that is most affected by the grim condition of his partner - though he is also most reluctant to reveal his true feelings.

Quickly the play becomes about Michael and his struggle with reality - his life, his feelings and the slow fate of his lover.

The taut script, claustrophobic set and the lack of an interval - though the play only runs 75 minutes - all help to draw the audience further and further in before the inevitable end which comes too soon for the audience but too long for the characters.
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