Writer: Richard Dormer
Director: David Calvitto
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
The Public Reviews Rating:
Set backstage 35 minutes before the opening night of an actor’s one-man version of Hamlet, The Half is definitely a play that suits the Edinburgh Fringe. In a city that is teeming with performers a play about their backstage angst is certainly appealing, and the fact that the play is well-written and at times very funny also recommends it.
Having not worked for 15 years our hero has sunk everything he owns into producing the show he believes will make him, but cannot afford any other actors or crew so is doing everything himself. Overstretched in every conceivable way, he begins to fall apart, and finds himself tormented by fears and superstitions. Addressing himself in the mirror, attempting to centre himself and find confidence, great humour comes from his ‘line-running’ the opening of the play (playing all the roles) and duelling himself with a pair of rapiers. Richard Dormer’s clever writing melds together the modern language with the Shakesperian text, eliciting many laughs and groans of recognition.
Guy Masterson is his usual charismatic self, with presence to spare and a wonderful vocal resonance. However, by the end of a performance that has seen this doubt-ridden actor alternately mutter and scream as he battles his fears and neuroses, Masterson’s voice did sound strained. The delivery of the text is relentless, with barely a pause for breath, and although this does give the sense of a man unravelling it also gave the sense of a man addressing an audience rather than talking to his reflection. At the close of piece the actor utters the immortal words “The rest is silence”, and one cannot help feeling that had this piece had a little more silence interspersed throughout it would have been all the better for it.
Until 26th August