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Waiting For Gadot In Bruges’ Premier Inn

Scally Mag Team

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Trev Fleming reviews the theatre production ‘Professional’ by the Silent Gutter Theatre…

 

Recreating a budget hotel room should be easy. Bed, table, chair. Done. You’ll get the gist, but the details are lost. It’s been done on stage loads of times and usually falls sort.

When the curtain opens on Professional however, you know exactly where you are. It’s the sort of place that is fairly clean, decently serviced, reasonably priced and over all ‘not that bad’.

It’s the details that got me initially. The tea and coffee making facilities, the bland headboard, the constant hum of the aircon/bathroom extractor fan. Those constants of Travelodge life that while not completely special in their own right, when combined, make the experience one you know very well.

Something similar can be said for Silent Gutter’s production of Professional. All the necessary ingredients are there. Tight and witty writing from Oliver Back, clever direction from Emma Turner, and solid performances from all three actors. Together it all combines to form an hour of theatre that in turn is funny, tense, ponderous, verbose, deep & meaningful and scatological.

When the action opens, we are introduced to two hitmen, Harry and Martin, laying low and waiting for further instructions from ‘head office’. One seasoned and well, professional; the other young, undisciplined and oh so bored at their forced isolation. A battle of wills ensues, veering from the beauty of cricket to the meaning of life while waxing lyrical about the joys of playing Time Crisis (if there was ever an arcade game that two hitmen should be good at, it’s that one).

Eventually the debate turns personal, then physical and then moral as a pastime of Martin’s is brought into the open. The irony of two hitmen discussing the morality of murder is not lost on the characters nor on the audience. The two actors, Lee Burnitt and Liam Powell-Berry, as Harry and Martin respectively, deliver their characters with grace and skill. Powell-Berry makes for a hideous character, although maybe that’s just his eating habits grating against my personal sensibilities.

However, the introduction of the third character, Shannon – played by a devilish Faye McCutcheon, and the ensuing ‘twist’ dilutes the proceedings. The third act (as much as a one-hour play can be said to have acts) is where the play falters slightly. The action begins to veer into the realm of the supernatural without enough set up. The ‘twist’- which I won’t reveal here- is seen from a fair distance off. This was a shame as the preceding forty minutes were very entertaining indeed.

Ultimately, Professional is similar to a stay in one of the better well-known hotels. Everything can’t be faulted, but it just leaves you wanting a bit more.

3.5/5 stars.

 

Cover photo: Andrew AB Photography