By Joy Wilkinson
Co-produced with Mash TV and Radio and the Jack Studio Theatre
As part of Write Now – the Jack’s new writing festival
16th-20th February 2010
Director: Jennifer Lunn
Designer: Nicola Eve Dobrowolski
Lighting: Chris Lince
Cast: Gareth Kennerley
Compression is a funny and moving new play about the voices in our heads that hold us back, and how one singular man talked them around.
‘This one act play comes from the pen of local writer and Verity Bargate Award winner Joy Wilkinson whose work includes Now Is the Time, part of the Tricycle’s The Great Game. In an interview in The Times last year she said, “When I go to the theatre, I want to leave knowing things I didn’t know before. Something about the world in which we live, about different ways of life.” In this twenty-first century love story she provides an opportunity for the audience to do just that.
The world Robin Heyhoe inhabits is a place we recognise as being an extreme version of the actual or figurative space which we ourselves go to for respite from the tough stuff of life. The difference between us and Robin is choice; his redemption is ultimately the same as ours, even if the catalyst for it occurs by destiny rather than by design.
Robin Heyhoe’s bedsit is created by Nicola Eve Dobrowolski’s quirky set design that hints at a padded cell and director Jennifer Lunn has Robin occasionally prowling around it, similarly suggesting the threshold of instability. Lunn’s work directing the one-man Borderline last year has served her well since she has an excellent feel for pacing and the changes of mood within the play keeping our attention on the action throughout.
Gareth Kennerley is Robin Heyhoe; he is word-perfect for 85 minutes and completely arresting. It is not often we see a performance of this thought and conviction in a week-long fringe run and his performance alone makes this production worthy of another airing. He makes Heyhoe endearing and genuine, vulnerable without being stupid.
Compression‘s thoughtfulness is understated and it remains a credible piece even though there are a few moments that verge on the contrived or are unclear. It is without doubt a remarkably good start to the Brockley Jack’s debut new writing season and insofar as it can be a harbinger of what follows, it promises more good things.’
British Theatre Guide