Monday, November 30, 2009

Play: NOT AXEL HARRISON Malcolm Miller

Sam Floyd's latest play at The Street Studio, is a most entertaining gangster comedy, almost a farce without doors, in which clever lighting and set design, combined with telephone converstaions, create the kind of confusion and chaos we expect in that form.
There are good reasons why it isn't always advisable for writers to direct their own work, but in this cast Sam Floyd makes it work.  One wonders what another director, without the writer's preconceived ideas, might have made of it. 

The cast of seven gave polished performances from talented young actors. Becky Bergmann was a feisty daughter of the Italianate gangster chief, Poncioni, played by Davis McNamara with polished menace.  Adam Salter was the dumb gunman, Val, who kept trying to get an exclusive on the dirty work to be carried out.  Tom Watson as the innocent Axel, forced to strangle the hit man, played by Chris Brain,  sent by loan shark Poncini, and then to take his place, was naively likeable as he bluffed his way into gangland.  Daniel McCusker was the crooked, conniving cop, Spiegel, managing to be visibly corrupt, while Jack Dyball was the fringe-dwelling drug dealer.

 The audience on opening night was having at least  a laugh a minute as mistaken identity and confusion tangled the plot into zany humour ending up with baddies' bodies heaped on the floor. 

I predict that a lot more will be heard from Sam Floyd, as his originality and willingness to develop and polish his plays grows.