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Review: MAKE MINE A DOUBLE - TUNNELS and PRESS, Park Theatre

Two plays showcase emerging talent but suggest that the best is yet to come

Review: MAKE MINE A DOUBLE - TUNNELS and PRESS, Park Theatre

Review: MAKE MINE A DOUBLE - TUNNELS and PRESS, Park Theatre Make Mine A Double is the catchy, and enticing, title of the season of paired plays staged in the Park Theatre's smaller space, offering an opportunity for both young playwrights and audiences keen to find the next big thing. The current offerings, Tunnel by Oliver Yellop and Press by Sam Hoare, illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the format - both hold many points of interest but both suggest that there is more considered work to come.

Yellop's two-hander takes us back in time to the 1970s and in geography to East Berlin, where a pair of cousins (Paul and Freddie) are digging under the Wall en route to freedom. With the stifling claustrophobia, the usual concern of a young lad (Freddie) about the girl he's leaving behind and the nagging doubt that Paul must have done some kind of deal with the Stasi when he was in prison, it's a plot that twists and turns.

Lewis Bruniges and Oliver Yellop himself are a credible pair and they are aided in suggesting a divided Berlin by Niall Ransome channeling early Krautrock on the synthesiser. But it's all a little inconsequential - we're a third of a century on from that dismal DDR regime that was forgotten shortly after its demise and, while a reckoning is still to be made with abused athletes and others, one wonders whether it's worth an hour of anyone's time in 2022.

Press is set in a dystopian United Kingdom, which is anything but united having toppled into ethnic conflict arbitrated by a totalitarian government and reported by a cowed media. Writer, Sam Hoare, tells the tale, playing a cocksure journalist who uses every shabby trick of the trade to climb its greasy pole before almost stumbling into exposing an atrocity and inviting the iron fist of the state to intervene in his life and his family's.

At first a black comedy, shit gets serious (as they say), and polemic overpowers pastiche. As with the first play in the double bill, one wonders whether this ground needs to be retrod - the appalling internecine conflict in the Balkans gave many such examples and, as Suzanne Emerson's super design work shows, this terrible scenario is being played out right now in countries such as Myanmar.

I'll look for both writers' future work, when I hope they'll set their work and frame their arguments in more contemporary, more relevant environments. They clearly have much to say and the wherewithal to say it on stage - how best to get their message across is the immediate challenge.

Make Mine A Double - Tunnels and Press - is at Park Theatre until 10 December

Photo Credit: Mark Douet



Review: THE BOYS ARE KISSING, Theatre503 Photo
Zak Zarafshan’s debut play dives into playground politics and marital disputes, but with a touch of divine intervention, and some Britney Spears for good measure. The show follows two sets of parents meeting to discuss a kiss between their two nine-year-olds sons, and the glittery queer guardian angels that help them figure it out.

Review: BUTCHERED, VAULT Festival Photo
There are some shows that fit perfectly within the walls of The Vaults. Magic is made when old bricks and humidity meet the right production. Expial Atrocious’ Butchered is one of those that feel at home enveloped by the horrid architecture and the rumblings of Waterloo Station. The love child of Sweeney Todd and Hannibal, it’s a grim look at life and death in a dog-eat-dog world.

Review: THE LAMB DISAGREES, VAULT Festival Photo
It’s equally funny and stimulating, opening up a broader conversation about people’s use of foreign cultures and experiences to further their own goals. Wang only gives a taste of the issue in The Lamb Disagrees, but we hope her budding career will explore the subject in more detail.

Review: FOR A BRIEF MOMENT AND NEVER AGAIN SINCE, VAULT Festival Photo
It’s a missed opportunity to explore young parenthood and the effects of thoughtless actions on a couple.


From This Author - Gary Naylor

Gary Naylor is chief London reviewer for BroadwayWorld (https://www.broadwayworld.com/author/Gary-Naylor) and feels privileged to... (read more about this author)


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