The ACT production of the mystery thriller Killing Time by Richard Stockwell draws the summer theatre season, at Southwold Arts Centre, to a close. They are certainly going out with a bang with Killing Time, as two characters pit their wits against each other for survival, deceiving, denying and deluding one another and of course the audience. It is not without a smile or two, albeit twisted at times, as intentions and secrets unfold.
The play keeps us on our toes as characters switch from victim to perpetrator leaving us to consider who is at preying upon whom. It twists and turns with actions and deeds, and the physical and psychological games keep the audience guessing as to who will eventually have the upper hand in this threatening encounter. Each gamble with their motives and intentions, concealing as much as the convey. Slowly they reveal their true colours as they physically and verbally battle their way to some sort of resolution. It’s a dangerous strategy they play out as their sneering or snide remarks take aim. Then there are the handcuffs, the gun and the gag – tied and bound – and there can be only one victor – surely? Stockwell’s script keeps the pace up with quick sharp exchanges, along with bursts of physical challenges, all of which keep the audience guessing right up to the end as to who the cat or mouse is – clever and entertaining stuff.
Efficiently directed by Ricard Blaine and neatly designed by Alan Horne. The tidy, homely, unassuming setting is the perfect backdrop for what seems like a simple chance encounter where a couple, apparently unknown to each other, may be about to engage in an afternoon of illicit pleasure.
Darrell Brockis plays Rick with a helpful and friendly demeanour but slowly reveals a more disturbing and emotional character; it’s a splendidly crafted performance from Brockis that holds the attention of the audience as he spins his yarns to trap the seemingly thankful Jane, played by Charlotte Parry. Of course, she too is not quite what she seems and Parry, with her emotional changes of gear and her adept physical expressions invests the script with an intensity that is compelling, confusing and convincing. Parry shines in this production as she sustains the momentum of this mystery thriller right to the end.
The impressive Parry and Brockis verbally spar, shifting the mood and tone with ease and their violent physical exchanges thrill and derail the audience as the action moves to a most unexpected conclusion. A clever and sharp production from the creative team at ACT.
ACT have transferred a selection of productions from Aldeburgh theatre to Southwold Arts Centre and have revitalised the summer season and importantly they seem to have shaken off the post pandemic theatrical blues.
Killing Time, Southwold Summer Theatre – Wed 7th September 2022. For tickets and more information please visit: www.southwoldartscentre.co.uk