Jam Jar Productions
After the success of the truly inventive and spectacular Following Wendy last year, Jam Jar Productions have come back with a lot of expectation.
Instead of another stage-exploring, multi-cast overture like their re-interpretation of Peter Pan, they have instead opted for a far more low-key affair, centring around four actors in a single location with few props and even fewer effects, this time with a wholly original plot but again featuring an element of the supernatural. With a title like Thirty-Two Teeth and an opening scene involving a character getting creative in his own face with a pair of pliers, it's not a great leap to guess that the supernatural element is a tooth fairy. In fact by fifteen minutes into the play, the trio of teenagers has managed to capture the tooth fairy and one of them plans to make a deal with her, to save his prematurely born baby brother.
The trouble with this sort of production is that creating a genuinely creepy and sinister environment requires that the audience manages to maintain all disbelief whilst being swept up in the narrative. Now while the tingling anticipation of promised mutilation was ever-presently dangled in front of the audience, the story itself dragged interminably after the initial opening. Having three characters who are close friends all talking around a shared event is fine, except when the narrative is complex enough that the audience simply loses interest in the constant teasing out of the story. This is where the problem invariably fell through Thirty-two Teeth, the character motives, their needs and the background which they all share are only hinted at, then hinted at again, and again in a very overwritten and unrealistic fashion. Which left the narrative feeling false and uncomfortably irksome.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan