Home » London Theatre Reviews » 180⁰ Chord at Baron’s Court Theatre | Review

180⁰ Chord at Baron’s Court Theatre | Review

180⁰ Chord180⁰ Chord is a cracking if awkwardly titled 60-minute single set two-hander that would do well at Edinburgh and on the fringe circuit generally. The only trouble is that Chris Leicester’s production of his own script lasts for 90 minutes thanks to the repetition of ideas and Tarantinoesque musings on irrelevancies. As is sometimes the case with playwright-directors, too much attention has been paid to what the audience can hear and not enough to what it can see. On some stages that wouldn’t matter too much but the production suffers badly in the dungeon-like setting of the wonderful Baron’s Court Theatre. To make it worse, an over-revelatory flier reveals too much of the plot so that anyone who’s seen The Wicker Man or Kill List (and many, one suspects, who haven’t) will know exactly where 180⁰ Chord is going before the opening scene – is it going to be “some simple revenge thing” or possibly something else?

Paul Findlay is John Gray, a dislikeable police officer who by an improbable twist of fate has found himself in the prison where at least one of the criminals he banged up is incarcerated. A riot is underway, conveyed by a soundscape that is too intermittent and – in the space at Baron’s Court at least – too distorted to be effective. Gray is no longer the hunter but the hunted, hidden in the cell of another prisoner, Connor, played by Vinny Fox is in top form. Confusingly, only one of the two is in prison fatigues but that proves to be irrelevant. As the plot unfolds, there are flashbacks that explain why the two men are in jail, what kind of men they are and, to an extent, why they are what they are. A Chekhovian teddy bear is kind of explained and the play moves to a predictable climax.

Struggling to get out of 180⁰ Chord is a top-notch thriller. Tightened up all round – with better effects and attention to sightlines, fewer scene changes and flashbacks (if any) and above all fewer words, it could still escape.

3 Star Review

Review by Louis Mazzini

You’re the pride of the police force. Your conviction rates are unbelievable. You’re so ruthless and unethical; some say you’re like a criminal yourself. And there’s no fate or consequence for you, just facts. But what happens when they both unexpectedly come calling one afternoon? One moment you’re a detective sergeant and the next, a convicted murderer. Then due to an administration ‘error’, you end up in the very same maximum-security prison you sent most of your scalps to. So what then? As soon as the news of your arrival at the prison spreads, the riot starts and they come looking for you. As the prisoners begin their rampage, a fellow inmate, Connor hides you in his cell. Together you flee and hide from the gang in various parts of the prison as they frantically seek you out. But who is Connor and why is he protecting you exactly? The reason will soon become abundantly clear as your past life now comes back to haunt you.

180⁰ Chord by Chris Leicester


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