Donal Fleet: A Confessional

Sean Gregson
24:7 Theatre Festival
New Century House, Manchester
(2009)

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Sean Gregson's 'first proper play' is set in a run-down flat where title character Don (Lloyd Peters), on an old typewriter, has churned out thousands of pages of his memoirs, which litter the place amongst the spirit bottles, suitcases and the portable record player.

Into this claustrophobic environment comes young man "The Lad" (James French) whose relationship with Don is uncertain, as they seem to exercise an uneasy friendship until there are hints of blackmail, but when the lad's girlfriend "The Woman" (Szivi Naray-Davey) appears unexpectedly after following him, it seems that she might have a link to Don that the lad never suspected.

The situation has a definite feeling of Pinter with the run-down, domestic, male-dominated environment, constant feeling of menace and the vagueness of the relationships between the characters. However the dialogue doesn't come close to that carefully-honed, hyper-real speech that Pinter always achieved, and lines that are obviously meant to sound mysterious or profound are just meaningless.

There is some fussiness in the direction and the delivery of the lines, when lines that could be effective as throwaways are given too much emphasis. For all the talk of stories in the script, the play itself never finds one and just meanders between mysterious conflict and confessional monologues.

Reviewer: David Chadderton