New talent meets an all time great

In a double bill of one act plays to be staged in February, a long-standing Kelvin Players member takes the helm as director of the first of his own plays ever to be brought to the stage. Sharing the evening is that giant of theatre: Harold Pinter2, one of whose famous “comedies of menace” completes the double bill.

Our staging of The Lover3 in some ways represents a homecoming for Pinter: his first play was staged in a student production at the University of Bristol in 1957. Whilst The Lover is typically grouped with Pinter’s other early works as a “comedy of menace”, Director Bob Havard prefers to term it a comedy of mild menace because, unlike some of the other works, “one at least does not get the sense that the main characters want to kill each other”.

Centring on the mysteries of sex and identity within the constraints of a bourgeois marriage in the early 1960s, the play examines how the central couple have, in their tenth year of marriage, accommodated each other’s desires. The story also looks at the routines, rituals and dramas that develop within long term relationships, and challenges the audience to understand why, in that more buttoned-up time, the married couple might choose to allow a third party into their marriage and their home.

The second part of this double bill provides a stark contrast. Hilarious and irreverent, Better the Devil sees angels and demons thrown together and forced to co-operate after the Devil explodes and God goes missing. Writer Alex Needham – who also directs this production – developed the story as a way to untangle his own feelings about religion, and the tricky relationship of the angel and demon protagonists represents his own conflicting yet complementary opinions on the subject.

When it comes to the task of directing this show, Alex is just a little bit terrified. He feels that  comedy is already one of the most challenging genres to direct, relying as it does so heavily on audience reactions which vary from night to night, but this particular show has an additional layer of peril for him: “as the writer, I can’t really blame the material if the show falls flat!” To find out whether he meets the challenge – and whether the angels and demons manage to save themselves, the universe and Runcorn – you’ll just have to come along and watch. As Alex says, “it’s not big, and it’s not clever…but it is funny”.

The Lover and Better the Devil will be performed at the Kelvin Studios from Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 February 2013, at 7.30pm.

For further information, images, interview requests and complimentary tickets for reviewers, please contact Kelvin Players Publicity Officer (Josh Whelan) on 07985 211383 or email: [email protected]

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