Harper Regan, Tabard Theatre

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by Amy Toledano

Last performed at the National Theatre, Simon Stephen’s Harper Regan is great at making an audience uncomfortable. His drawn-out scenes build tension to the point that it is totally unbearable, and Contentment Productions bring their own sense of intensity to this writing that for the most part works, but can sometimes feel slightly tired and draining for the audience.

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Tryst, Tabard Theatre

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George Joseph Smith was a petty thief and con man who preyed on the most vulnerable women he could find. He would win their love, persuade them to elope, then strand them on their honeymoon after cleaning out their bank account. In exchange, these women who were lonely and insecure, would have a wedding night of bliss. He thought this was more than fair.

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Heresy, for everything theatre

An austere, dimly lit set of arches and benches captures the heat and lethargy of a time in Spain when smoke fills the air with the Spanish Inquisition at its peak…The whole of the first act provides the audience with character exposition, but nothing progresses until much later in the play. Although playwright Tilo Ulbrecht expresses himself beautifully through the language, this part of the play could be drastically trimmed in order to focus more on the latter acts, rather than the prologue-like first…

“From Act II, set five years later, the story begins to progress. The action is set in the house of Don Felipe (Nick Simons), a very old blind man. He is a Cathar, a branch of Catholicism deemed heretical by the medieval church. He hides in plain sight as the audience learns that his dear friend and former student Don Carlos is the new Inspector General of the Inquisition…

“The performances are largely good, with excellent work from Macavie and Simons. It is incredibly refreshing to see a cast of older actors in fringe theatre rather than 20-somethings playing at being old. Maya is also a force of calm strength that is lovely to watch. Saracen is good as the conflicted Inspector but his moments of anger are difficult to find convincing. Gaoler Bernard O’Sullivan provides some light relief and good contrast to the heavy content of his scenes…

“The characters are well developed and Ulbricht skillfully uses language to create atmosphere, but the plot is somewhat neglected. The play as a whole certainly has potential, but needs re-structuring. The story is a great idea and it gives a very personal humanity to a period of history associated with the devastating capabilities of the Spanish Inquisition…

Intention: ☆☆☆☆

Outcome: ☆☆

Star Rating: ☆☆☆

Read the entire everything theatre review here.