Have I got muse for you! It is the first play written by Iain Regnier-Wilson, receiving its first performance by the newly formed theatre production company “Cock a Snook”.
The play concerns Edmund, a ‘nerd’ who sees himself as a professional writer –though not yet published- who asks for handouts from his mother and rents out two rooms in his flat in order to make ends meet. Petra, one of his flatmates hopes to become a pop idol though in the meantime she works as a waitress, but only until she is famous. Tim, Edmond’s other flatmate, has a financial job in the city and is about to make it big!
Edmond lacks most social skills and so, apart from his flatmates, is a complete loner. He does have a proclivity for porn sites and chat rooms on the internet where he comes across a web page created by fashion model Espree to promote herself. He decides to write to her, and to the utter amazement of his flatmates, she corresponds and even agrees to meet.
It is this encounter between Edmond and Espree that sets the main drama for the play. Who is Espree and why is a beautiful model like her falling for a ‘nerd’ like Edmund? Why does Tim, who has a powerful job in the city always appear to be short of cash and unable to pay his rent on time? Will Petra become a pop idol and win her audition to be part of the new girls band to be called “Electric Breasts” being formed by the music company “Pop On A Rope”?
If this sounds like a recipe for a farce, you are mistaken. This is a drama that uses comedy to make us ask what it is we want from life and how far we are willing to go to get it! Poor Edmund stands little chance of finding happiness in this dog-eat-dog world, though in Espree that opportunity does arrive, but will he accept it once he knows the truth about her?
In the end, the writer appears to be saying what we all want is to be loved and accepted, and maybe it is our drive and ambition for other things that rob us of finding what we really want. A question that all the characters ask either directly or in directly “What is love?” And all falter in their attempts to answer!
Robert J Francis playing Edmond gives a reasonable performance, though one expected more emotion when he discovers Espree’s secret! Charlotte Atkinson is convincing as Petra, a young girl who believes she has great talent, and really needs someone to do the ‘kind’ thing and tell her the truth. Eleanor Caird plays the elusive and self-assured Espree perfectly. The best performance is from Graham Dalton who plays Tim, a likable rascal one moment and a cheating rogue the next. However, despite this one still feels sorry for him. Dalton definitely portrays a menacing presence on stage at the appropriate moments.
A good first play. The first act introduces the characters to the audience, but it is far to long and at times tedious. The second act is far superior. Not a West End play, but a good first offering from writer Iain Regnier-Wilson. It will be interesting to see how he matures.
(Headshot photos of cast: from top to bottom: Robert J Francis; Eleanor Caird; Charlotte Atkinson; Graham Dalton)