“Dangerous Obsession” by Tabs Theatre Company
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Written by N J Crisp, this play is widely considered to be his finest piece, and he certainly knows how to write an "edge of the seat" piece of theatre with twists that you don't see coming.
The action all takes place in the conservatory of Mark & Sally Driscoll's wealthy home. A stranger, John Barratt has been watching Sally as she comes in from the garden and tends the plants in the conservatory. He knocks on the window and Sally lets him in when she realises that they had met at a business function in Torquay.
When Mark comes home from work he and Sally think that John is here to talk about a business proposition. They do not notice the clever way that John seals off the conservatory but the audience do,and this creates suspicion from the auditorium.
John's wife has recently been involved in a car accident and he seems devastated, gaining Sally's sympathy but Mark's patience is running out. He finally asks John to leave. Sally hands John his 'rather heavy' briefcase. John pulls out a gun. Shots are fired. Sally and Mark are scared witless. What on earth is John really here for? But the audience will have to wait until Act Two to find out and there are many twist and turns to come before John's real purpose is revealed.
Angie Smith (Sally Driscoll) straight away attracts the audience's attention with her costume, but I digress. Angie shows a wide range of emotions with this role and character and you can feel the fear that she shows. Another emotion starts to show though as we get into the second act!
Mark Huckett (Mark Driscoll) also shows a wide range of emotion and also in Act Two you do start to feel just a little bit sorry for him, although morally, maybe we shouldn't as his story unfolds. You can almost feel and smell the nervousness, and at times utter desperation, creeping up on Driscoll.
Michael Sherwin (John Barrett) plays an absolute blinder with Barrett. His delivery of the script remains calm but so menacing and his stilted, but measured delivery makes you feel decidedly uneasy from his first appearance. You feel that Barrett is dangerous, but why?. Michael delivers a frighteningly unhinged performance, one that would make you sleep with the light on, especially if you had something to hide!!
Directed by Karen Henson who delivers four out of four wonderful theatre pieces, showing that not only is she a wonderful character actor but her Direction and ability to get these kind of performances from her cast, leaving you just a little on edge....when she wants to.
The set was designed by Duncan Hands and again, like Sarah Wynne Kordas's designs for the previous three productions, the attention to detail is very commendable. You don't have to read up on the period the productions are set in as the set tells you straight away.
Lighting designer was Duncan Hands and the Sound design by David Gilbrook. Just the opening of one of the conservatory windows allows the birdsong soundscape to flood in, again creating an idyllic atmosphere to match the idyllic life style the Driscolls, seemingly have.
I hung on to every word this trio delivered. I'd not seen or heard this play before and they had me hooked right from the start. It's a very clever and well scripted play, and the three characters are all stand alone characters. I lost track of the twists in this story. The final one will make you wonder what happened next. One thing I think we can be sure about though, not one of these characters will be revealing the events of that evening, to anyone. Why? Go and find out for yourself.
“Dangerous Obsession” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 24 August.