Thursday, 17 September 2009

A Girl in a Car with a Man Review

June 2009

Contact Theatre Manchester 

Rob Drummer’s vision for this evoking, if not intrusive piece of theatre combines both an intense experience, within the black box space, with a more personal approach, as we are dragged into the story from the moment we enter the building. With missing posters of a young girl, not unlike Madeline Mc Cann, plastered all over the walls we are instantly lead to believe that a girl in Manchester has gone missing only to realise that this is part of the narrative once the curtain has gone up. A Girl in a Car with a Man centres around the disappearance of this girl, some eerie footage of her being lead into a car with a man and how five different people connect and relate to her disappearance. Set over the course of one night this tense and unsettling piece of theatre tackles issues such as identity, human connection, the invasion of technology and the ethics of surveillance physically represented by two cameras in the corner of the space seemingly filming the audience. Liz Hutchinson’s portrayal of Stella, a fame hungry shopping channel presenter, is believable as she quivers from the cold, dripping wet from the relentless storm ensuing outside the home of David, a lonely, obsessive photographer. Throughout the play, mainly through the device of direct address monologues we meet Alex, a one-dimensional gay narcissist, Paula, a maternal CCTV control operator obsessed with finding the missing child and a Policeman, who represents the more cynical side of society, animatedly played by Rory Girvan. Although these five characters are interesting and discuss the child’s disappearance in some way, they do not link. The play feels as if it is building towards a dramatic climax, a moment of realisation where the characters connect in some more poignant and relevant way. This never comes and call me old fashioned but therefore the play does fall flat. This is however, a flaw in the writing as opposed the production, which overall is well acted, thoughtfully designed and provoking.

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