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Bike Shed Theatre Review 'Still', Exeter, Devon

PUBLISHED: 22:58 23 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 20 February 2013

Photo: Belinda Dillon

Photo: Belinda Dillon

Belinda Dillon reviews Steve Lambert's new production of 'Still' at the Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter. 'Still' is produced by The Particular Theatre Company and runs until 1 May. Performances start at 7.30pm, tickets £10.

It is a hot night on the cusp of the Millennium, and David, a married man, brings hitchhiker Jo to a secluded riverside hideaway, a secret place from his boyhood. He is a closed individual, fraught with responsibility, already wracked with guilt; she is seductive, free-spirited, ruthlessly honest with herself and others. What happens in this hidden place will change both of their lives forever.

Bristol-based playwright Steve Lamberts new two-hander is a striking piece, tautly written and unflinching in its exploration of secrecy and honesty, and the ways in which individuals hide behind prescribed roles. Under David Lockwoods intuitive direction, the potentially magical setting a secret glade amid sparkling trees becomes a sinister place, furtive with hidden desires. As the action plays out, the encircling river takes on different meanings adventure, danger, remembrance and, ultimately, revelation.

The two leads inhabit their characters and the space with authority and credibility. Mark Shorto imbues David with an awkwardness that has him lurking in the shadows, arms rigidly stuck to his sides, an embodiment of the tension between past and present; Rose Romains Jo slinks across the stage, challenging Davids worldview at every turn, wrapping herself around the scenery like a beguiling serpent of Biblical proportions. The second act sees a change both in tone and the actors physicality that forces the audience to re-evaluate all that has gone before, underlining the need in us all to never settle for one interpretation, of situations or ourselves.

By Belinda Dillon

Still is produced by The Particular Theatre Company and runs until 1 May. Performances start at 7.30pm, tickets 10

The Bike Shed Theatre, St Olaves Close, Mary Archers Street, Exeter EX4 3AT

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