Home » London Theatre Reviews » Cold, Dark Matters at the Hope Theatre | Review

Cold, Dark Matters at the Hope Theatre | Review

Taking its title, more or less, from the best-known and surely most extraordinary work by the British artist Cornelia Parker, the starting point for Cold, Dark Matters is a mysterious abandoned shed. In a mysterious field. In the always-but-always mysterious county of Cornwall in the middle of winter when the nights are cold… and dark.

Cold, Dark Matters at the Hope Theatre
Cold, Dark Matters at the Hope Theatre

Cold, Dark Matters was first staged in Mousehole in Cornwall in 2023 and with support from Ha Hum Ah Productions and FEAST, Cornwall’s Arts Council-funded community-based arts programme, it has toured the county. Now, thanks in part to a successful crowdfunding campaign – Cold, Dark Matters has made its way to London. This beguiling, funny and ultimately surprising play is performed and written by the charismatic Jack Brownridge Kelly, who initially plays himself, fresh up from Penzance. Jack is going to tell us a story – a story about a writer of Arthurian romances who retreats to Cornwall in search of peace and introspection as he sets to work on a new story… and finds a shed. In telling the story, Jack is going to play the writer, Colin, as well as three or four locals. And Jack is going to tell us exactly what happened…

Performing in traverse at Islington’s Hope Theatre, the kinetic and engaging Brownridge Kelly unwraps his carefully layered script as he prowls for an hour around an almost empty stage. Kate Tregear provides a superb soundscape and other effects that make a massive contribution to the atmospherics of the production, which is smoothly directed by Róisín McCay-Hines. The ending of Colin’s story is a genuine surprise although the play rather fizzles out with a pat revelation when something a little more satisfying is needed.

This is a well-directed, beautifully performed production of an intriguing script, and you can catch it at the Hope Theatre until the 23rd of March.

4 stars

Review by Louis Mazzini

There’s a shed in that field. It’s long forgotten. Unloved some would say. According to one curious stranger, it will soon be blown up.

A satirical dark comedy about rural communities, isolation, and the dangers of obsessively trying to fit in, Cold, Dark Matters delves into the murky underwaters of a community in Cornwall and its new resident whose desire for a rural retreat may not be all that it seems…

Cold, Dark Matters was first performed at The Solomon Brown Hall in Mousehole in 2023. With the help of FEAST and Ha Hum Ah Theatre, it has since toured across Cornwall to sold-out audiences.


Set Designer – LUCY READ
Stage Manager – KATE TREGEAR

12 – 23 Mar 2024

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