Nuclear War, Buried, and Graceland - Old Red Lion Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until March 21, 2020

Photograph © Charles Flint Photography.

“Oh death, where is thy sting?” could well be a subtitle for Alexander Knott's enthralling triptych comprising Buried, Graceland and Nuclear War. The first of these, Buried, is brilliantly performed by James Demaine as a man temporarily entombed in a collapsed building. His entire life flashes through his mind in a torrent of words and actions. His first drink, his first sexual experience, military service, boxing are all presented with tremendous physicality. In Graceland, Anthony Cozens plays an endearingly dysfunctional teacher who is pilloried by his class. By using the audience as his class, Cozens gains a terrific and often hilarious rapport. Kids can be both perceptive and cruel so when they discover that he is being cuckolded a different side of the teacher emerges. Using combustion as a metaphor for life we enjoyed this ingenious play and the performance enormously. Nuclear War comes as a shock when we meet two women, played by Zöe Grain and Freya Sharp, who portray two sides of the same personality. Using complex movement at times to emphasise how the loss of a partner can be unbearable, the excellent Grain and Sharp frequently speak in unison and with distinctive vocal rhythms which can be bewildering as we hurtle along this unusual roller coaster of experiences. Helped throughout by Samuel Heron's ingenious use of sound and composition these pieces are certainly thought provoking. By placing them together Knott gives us an exceptionally rewarding and brilliantly performed entertainment.

Reviewed by D.S.J.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until March 21, 2020
Tue - Sat: 7:30 pm. Sat: 3 pm
Old Red Lion Theatre
Nearest tube: Angel
https://www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/nuclear-war-buried-graceland.html

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