Long Time Dead, Traverse
Rona Munro's new play explores how our passions effect our relationships and how our relationships can turn passion into obessession throught a narrative based around mountaineering. Watching the actors climb around a set incorporating climbing walls, tunnels and hidey-holes, one learns a lot more about mountaineering than one would expect from an evening at the theatre. As well as the dexterity shown by the performers, the technical aspects of the set are well managed as dry ice floats eerily over the audience through a lozenge-shaped hole that provides a viewing panel onto the stage. This is also effective as a tool to divorce the performance space from the audience's reality and enhance the more fantastical elements of the plot.
Intriguingly, this piece could have ended satisfactorily at the interval but the second act, wherein the consequences of not keeping one's end of a bargain with God are enacted, leads to a satisfying and thankfully not cloying conclusion. The plot is well served by by realistic dialogue, just enough good gags and actors who never lose concentration as they climb and act simultaneously. With such strong performances, such an intriguing premise, such a well crafted script and complementary set design, Long Time Dead is, fittingly, theatre at a peak.
NTW (Needless Theatrical Wank) : An overdone Cock-er-nee accent provides the only mis-footing in the piece.
JTD (Justified Theatrical Devices) : The exploitation of the physical set is promoted well without ever over-shadowing the nuances of the performances and script.