STUNNING THE PUNTERS
George Dillon at the Cramphorn Theatre
George Dillon, master of the dramatic monologue, brought his trilogy to the Cramphorn this week.
Robert Sproat's piece gives the show its title: a darts player in a pub on “a rough old estate”, red braces, DMs, Milwall supporter, thinks philosophically back on racist graffiti and the lads who sprayed it. Totally convincing physically, slightly less so vocally and mentally.
The evening opens with a Berkoff piece, Master of Cafe Society. H, an out-of-work actor envies those with jobs, as “hunger calibrates the day with purpose”. Excellent supporting characters, especially his crumpled parents, and a touching insight to the spiritual anguish of an embittered, empty man.
The longest piece last: Dostoevsky's Dream of a Ridiculous Man. Much more ambitious, with lighting, props and sound used to support the testament of a would-be suicide who's seen a world without sin or science, but inadvertently corrupts this other Eden, a paradise lost. The changes of mood, and style, are navigated with consummate skill. I found his impassioned belief in a better world, and his guilt and uncertainty, strangely moving.
This work was first seen in Edinburgh back in 1990, and returned there this year. A real theatrical tour-de-force – 90 minutes without a break – which should be required viewing for anyone who appreciates the actor's art. Tragic, then, that in Chelmsford the performer and the theatre staff outnumbered the punters ...