C J Hopkins
Guy Masterson, TTI in association with Flying Bridge Theatre Company
Assembly George Square Studios
Two American men are sat at a bar table with a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey and a pack of cards missing the nine of diamonds. Bob is quiet and laid-back; Sam is hyperactive and appears frightened of silence.
They are obviously isolated, possibly in hiding, possibly after some kind of incident which may have involved murder. There are also some hints they may be "law enforcement types". Any suggestions of going outside, possibly fishing, may be met with initial enthusiasm but are quickly argued against.
The press release describes it as "anarchic and surreal", which gives them licence to go anywhere with this rapid-fire dialogue, including occasionally addressing the audience. At one point, they, or the author, seem to be sending up the attitudes of people who reject abstract art in favour of more of what they know, perhaps anticipating the reactions to this show.
The performances of the two actors, Daniel Llewellyn Williams and Michael Edwards, are extremely impressive, with immaculately timed delivery of crosstalk that comes at the audience like a machine gun constantly for over an hour.
The obvious parallels to draw here are with Beckett's Waiting for Godot (referenced in the publicity), Pinter's The Dumb Waiter or perhaps Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead, but compared to them, I found this quite mystifying. So while I was impressed by the performances, I don't really know what was going on or what I was supposed to take from it, and 65 minutes of that is a bit much.
Reviewer: David Chadderton