Actors excel in face of challenging storyline

Three young men at The Actors Workshop with a forthcoming production by The Studio Group.'Pictured are Shane Gough and Thomas Vickery
Three young men at The Actors Workshop with a forthcoming production by The Studio Group.'Pictured are Shane Gough and Thomas Vickery
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The Pillowman

Studio Group

The Workshop, Halifax

Studio Group chose a challenging play for both actors and audience to raise funds for Actors’ Workshop Youth Theatre.

Award-winning playwright Martin McDonagh is associated with black comedies but despite some obviously funny and well-delivered lines, the cocktail of imaginative but gruesome fairy stories involving the murders of children that inspires his 2003 play The Pillowman raised hardly the most nervous of titters on the first night.

Abattoir worker Katurian, author of the stories, some of which were screen-projected in sinister grainy black and white in Kevin Sheppard’s stark production, finds himself the obvious suspect following a spate of horrific child murders. A deadly game of cat and mouse in pursuit of the truth ensues when Katurian is arrested and interrogated.

Also implicated is Katurian’s brain-damaged brother Michal, who has confessed to the crimes.

Shane Gough was outstanding as Katurian, fighting his complex corner and trying to protect his brother at the same time. Grant Moorhouse skilfully captured Michal’s vulnerability and confusion.

As good cop Tupolski, Keith Royston was convincingly world weary yet deadly, with Thomas Vickery uncompromising as bad cop Ariel.

Not a bundle of laughs by any means, but powerful, thought-provoking theatre, and impeccably performed.

On until Saturday.

Julia Anderson