The Boring Room, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Joanna Trainor

Nine characters, three stories, one not-so-boring room.

Loosely linked by themes of crime and mystery, The Boring Room is made up of three unusual pieces that finish moments before a satisfying ending. A door is about to open, a decision made, a body buried and the audience are plunged into darkness.

This isn’t an hour of hard hitting drama, though. There are plenty of tongue-in-cheek moments that pay homage to the genre; you certainly can tell that Olly Allsopp is a comedy writer. He also plays around with style, moving from something that feels reminiscent of the 60’s tv programme ‘The Prisoner’, to a femme fatale/noir tale. Allsopp doesn’t let The Boring Room become stale or plotlines plateau, and there are lovely little nods to the previous stories in each scene.

As the show moves forward, the trio of actors are able to capture glimpses of their former characters in each new performance. And for a man whose characters spend a good third of the play face down on the floor, Michael Keane delivers a barrage of witty one liners and searing monologues. From alcoholic Edgar Allan Poe to alcoholic PI Max, his comic timing is always on point, rightfully earning him the biggest laughs of the evening. 

There are a few dodgy American accents, and some lighting cues that aren’t in quite the right place, but these could easily be first night jitters that will work themselves out during the run. The Boring Room is something new, presented in a familiar light. A great way to start an evening at the festival.

The Boring Room runs through 11 February.

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