Theatre Critic and Journalist

Review: The Redemption Solos, Old Red Lion

Review: The Redemption Solos, Old Red Lion

Published in Time Out, 20.10.2010

Though both contain a death averted after a change of heart, the two monologues that make up the Underground Collective’s debut are so mismatched that their juxtaposition feels like a category mistake.

Christopher Hanvey’s The Native is a mood-piece with the slow drawl of the American West. A man and his thermos sit under a leafless wind-wracked tree. He recounts abandoning the murder of a pregnant Native American girl. There’s a fogginess to the narrative and Hanvey’s somnolent, shrugging delivery adds neither clarity nor snap.

Gary Mitchell’s Suicide Brunette fares better, though it follows Hanvey’s into the pitfalls of the past. Mitchell at least offers some initial present-tense drama, as a depressive Belfast mother of three threatens to broadcast her suicide online. However, her impending reversal is too obvious too early and Mitchell’s piece becomes memory play, offering causes and symptoms.

That diagnosis of society’s ills – from net obsession to terrorism via political correctness – is impassioned, but Mitchell overreaches and veers towards tangled rant.

Photograph: Heather Davies

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