The Mountaintop

Katori Hall

Bare Naked Theatre

Venue 13

From 08 August 2015 to 22 August 2015

Rating: ***

Review by Keith Mckenna

In Katori Hall’s play The Mountaintop, Dr Martin Luther King Junior arrives at Room 306 of the Lorraine Hotel Memphis Tennessee the night before he is assassinated. Hall imagines a version of that night in which King is visited by a mysterious stranger.

King (Mark M Cryer) is alone, restless and tense with premonitions of death. He is waiting for Ralph Abernathy to bring him a pack of cigarettes and is mulling over a speech he is planning which is potentially entitled Why America is going to hell.

The maid Camae (Kiana Sosa) arrives with coffee, cigarettes and whisky. She provides the opportunity for conversations that range from King’s diet to his concerns over the war in Vietnam. We see him gently flirtatious, glad of some distraction from his worries.

The script tries to create an amusing dialogue between the characters and at times King’s passion over political issues is exciting. However the show is flawed by the weakness of the script which fails to make us really believe in the characters despite the best efforts of the actors and becomes distracting when some twenty minutes into the play it reveals the identity of the maid.