iamhyperlexic

Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Review: Glory by Red Ladder Theatre at Cluntergate Community Centre 22 March 2019

The set is a wrestling ring, some litter, and some lockers.  The play deals with the subject of wrestling.  It is not about wrestling. 

This masterpiece, which I’m guessing may have been produced on a limited budget, has, in my opinion, two very minor technical defects.  The first is that some of the monologues were backed by electronic samples that sounded like wind blowing.  These were in keeping with the tone of the monologues, but the monologues could have stood for themselves, and didn’t need the backing track.  The second is that one of the actors plays two parts.  The two parts he plays are dramatically at odds.  It is obvious how this works, but it would have been neater if a fifth actor could have been employed.  This is a message to Arts Council England as much as to Red Ladder.    

Apart from that nit-picking, this is the tightest dramatic script I have ever witnessed.  The drama includes anger, hate, frenzy, regret, despair, triumph, and many things, besides.  Every line depicts character, ramps up dramatic tension,  or resolves it.  I mean, every line.  One of the ways I measure live performance is by how many times I check the time while it is going on.  The time check score for ‘Glory’ is zero.

An even more extreme nit-picker might say that the plot line about the financial difficulties of the owner might have been recapitulated.  I am not saying that. 

The play makes you think there are three characters, but then a fourth turns up, and not as an afterthought. 

There are several fight scenes, but the play is not about fighting.  The fight scenes are masterfully handled, and, I cannot deny, homo-erotic. 

The character of Jim Glory occasionally resorts to meta-drama, and speaks directly to the audience.  This is also well handled and adds to the engagement.  The explicit comparison in the dialogue of Shakespeare’s “Wooden O” with a wrestling ring underpins the parallel between this piece and Elizabethan drama.  It is a play that intends to give the audience back themselves.  It is a play that intends to make the audience want to be better people, without any trace of preaching.  Was this play intended to educate, or to entertain?  We will never know, because it did both. 

If you are very short of time, then see this production before all others, because not a single second of it is wasted. 

I have deliberately not listed the characters, or the actors, or given you my opinion of their performances.  You will have to go and see it, and decide all that, for yourself. 

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