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Tuesday 9 August 2011

Blue Surge, play by Rebecca Gilman, Finborough Theatre, more than 4* out of 5

If August in riot-riven London is not hot enough for you, why not consider spending an evening with two charming hookers at the Finborough Theatre?

Curt is a cop in a small Mid-West town in the USA. He and his partner Doug have been assigned to busting a “massage parlour”. So Curt meets Sandy, an 18 year old “masseuse” and starts a friendship with her. Doug actually manages to arrest his suspect Heather. Curt's girl-friend Beth from an upper middle-class family is an artist. She supports the ambition for 38-year old Curt to make Lieutenant, but is that ambition really his or hers?

Rebecca Gilman, a gifted and justly recognized American playwright, tells a story that has suspense, humour, intelligence and warmth. Written in 2001, this is the UK première of “Blue Surge”. The play explores questions of relationships across class, of ethics vs. practical, needs in a thought provoking way. It manages to confound many of her audience's expectations without stretching its credulity. One of the strength of this play that every character has depth and relationships are believable.

So for the actors and the creative team putting on this play must be a boon. And clearly they are a talented. The set works with few means, but uses glass and light to very good effect. The direction keeps the play moving and holds the audience attention from scene to scene. The acting is excellent with a very well balanced cast; and still Clare Latham as Sandy and James Hillier as Curt stand out.

I discovered the small Finborough Theatre about three years ago. It consistently manages to produce high quality theatre, encourages new writing talent, attracts young people to the theatre. The atmosphere is friendly and enthusiastic;and recently it has equipped itself with air conditioning. What more can a theatre-goer interested in seeing intelligent, modern plays ask for?

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