Cold / Warm

Florence Read

So be it

Pleasance Courtyard

From 03 August 2016 to 29 August 2016

Rating: ***

Review by Amy Yorston

Alone in his flat, a young man contemplates his own world and the world beyond his four walls.

In this one-man show, the stream of consciousness moves swiftly, jumping from topic to topic revealing humorous and also worrying glimpses into his past. His flat is full of old microwaves, each set to glow an ominous light, and a drop-down blind separates him from the seeming dystopian world outside his window.

He observes a man beating up a dog, something that happens every day, and listens to the click, click of shoes upon the stair. Although he is passive and professes to be apathetic—“keeping himself to himself”—all of his anecdotes suggest that he's quite a character in the real world—stealing shoes and crying over pigs—that is if these memories are real.

Occasionally his world is punctuated by visitors who threaten his way of life. Whilst the block of flats sounds a miserable place, always too cold or too warm, full of people living in isolation, the alternative of a stainless steel, glossy existence feels fake and unattainable. He muses that dreams are only for people in magazines.

It sounds grim but Cold / Warm does contain quite a few observations that allow the audience to release their tension through gentle chuckles. The actor also multi-roles effectively, the intruders bringing light relief to his heartfelt monologue. It is fervent but it is also intense and the show could either benefit from the addition of more backstory for this lonely man or a trim to add some intrigue.

Directed with precision and performed with impressive commitment, this is a mostly absorbing piece with a very dramatic finale.