So, this was the first play I had the chance to watch at this years 24:7 Theatre Festival!
‘The Shadow Of Your Hand’s’ plot could be described very simply; the events that follow when a man invites a homeless woman into his flat.
Now, I know what you’re all thinking. You think you can predict what happens. Go on, decide now what happens. Done? HAH. You’re wrong. I know I was. This play was far from predictable.
Firstly, we are introduced to Steve (Steven Pinder – apparently he was in Brookside for a long time, but I’m too cool to watch that…) who is a rich, socially difficult and agitated business man. I must admit, Steven Pinder stole the show for me. He played the character with style.
Not all as it seems
He invites the surprisingly un-naive homeless woman (Rosie Fleeshman) into his flat for a home cooked meal. Steve is extremely caring towards her, treating her almost like a queen. This immediately made me ‘like’ his character. Yes, the whole situation seems a bit iffy, and yes, I know something bad is inevitably going to happen, but… Steve seemed adorable. His nervousness and OCD like qualities made him the vulnerable party! Even when he finally snaps and has her tied up and gagged, I thought ‘aww, he just wants some company’. I know! I was freaked out myself that I was thinking like that. But I liked Hannibal Lecter, so it might just be me…
Rosie Fleeshman plays a strong young woman who has clearly lived a hard life. She strolls in with her baggy top, ‘chavvy’ trakies and quite frankly stinks of ASBO (her character that is, Rosie was actually lovely!) She begins the play quiet, with the hint of an attitude but grateful for Steve’s kindness. Then slowly transforms into the tough, loud and manipulating villain.
Throughout the play you see a power struggle between them both. The protagonist and antagonist roles swap numerous times until you start to get slight nausea. But I loved this, as the performance stayed fresh. Their hidden pasts are slowly revealed as their relationship becomes more intense. The annoying noises coming from backstage did affect my viewing, but I guess its hard to walk around in the dark without some clumsy trips. So I made do.
Even though it was a dark play, there was so much witty dialogue; primarily from Steve’s character. The writer (Michael Stewart) hit the tragicomic timings perfectly! Evident through this simple line; ‘I won’t touch you… I’ll be wearing pyjamas‘ The jokes seemed to leak out through the characters mannerisms and reactions. All the little details staged by the director (Sue Jenkins) were beautifully placed. Resulting in presumably, sought after laughter.
The hint of a possible future between them at the end is an eerily uncomfortable thought. The scene itself reflects that of my thought! The ending was a little weak as I didn’t exactly understand some of it. I did feel the momentum began to fizzle out nearer the closing stages. I’d of preferred a hard hitting ending, to compliment the hard hitting theatre. However, I guess opposites attract, and a serene ending worked in a weird way.
It is a dark, surprisingly witty and definitely gripping piece of theatre! My favourite of the day!!