Writing a review is not always as easy as some believe it to be. There are many things to be taken into account when looking at a production including the writing, directing, acting, set and costume design, lighting, sound etc. And, no matter how dispassionate one tries to be, some shows will strike a chord while others may not. This means that sometimes there can be wildly differing reviews of the same show – I’ve recently seen a show given a 1 star rating by one reviewer and 4 by another. Ultimately then, reviews are the subjective thoughts of the person writing them. Keep that in mind as I take you to Camden’s Theatro Technis where Razor Sharp Productions are currently performing Yasir Senna’s She Wears Scented Rose.
Late one night in a street in the Wimbledon area of London, Mark (Craig Karpel) is dragging himself along a road bleeding profusely. He manages to keep himself together long enough to phone for an ambulance and tells the operator he has been stabbed. Later, in a hospital waiting room, Mark’s wife Verity (Niki Mylonas) is waiting for news. The doctor, Mahesch Kumar, explains to Verity and her 17-year-old daughter Neve (Natalie Mitson) that Mark has been badly injured and right now it is touch and go as to whether he survives. Luckily, after a period in a coma, he does, and the family are reunited. Mark tells his story to Detective Inspector Kane (Rosalie Carn) and it seems to be a straightforward case of a carjacking that went horrendously wrong. However, when Mark’s’ best friend David (Simon Ryerson) arrives along with his daughter – and Neve’s best friend – Sadie (Charlotte Campbell), things change. David knows Mark well and thinks there is more to the story than he has told so far. As the truth emerges, what part will Mark and David’s old school teacher Mr Steel (Martin Balanow) and a man named Denly (Michael Mayne) have to play in the affair?
She Wears Scented Rose was not, I’m afraid, a play that really worked for me on many levels. Writer Yasir Senna, also directed the play and I think this could have been a bit of an error of judgement. Whilst the overall story is pretty good, I feel it needed some pruning and a director not associated with the writing would, I believe, have managed to change the flow of the production and tightened it up. For example, the setting of the hospital room need only have happened once, with other locations being created by a better use of the lights. I would have also cut the cast down as there were some characters that only appeared briefly once so could have been played by one actor covering the roles.
Having said that, the story was interesting and there were certainly some unexpected moments in the narrative which took a simple carjacking to an ending that I had not even thought of when the play started. In fact, the final scene was extremely well written and played and full credit to Simon Ryerson for his perfectly measured performance in it. With regards to the other actors, Craig Karpel has to be singled out for his portrayal of Mark. Whilst I never warmed to the character, I did at least feel sorry for him initially going through the carjacking and stabbing. However, that didn’t last and – without giving anything away – my opinion of him really changed over the course of the production and by the end, it’s fair to say, I fully understood and agreed with how the playwright concluded Mark’s story.
Overall, I think there is still some work to be done to make She Wears Scented Rose into the taut thriller it sets out to be. Some of the characters need expanding whilst others should be scaled back slightly and the production should be shorter. Obviously, I’m no playwright – this is a real case of ‘those that can do and those that can’t review’. But, ultimately She Wears Scented Rose is a nice play with a reasonably logical story that unfolds in front of the audience and certainly keeps them guessing most of the way through.
Review by Terry Eastham
“It’s close to midnight and a man lies by a road close to death. He is the victim of a car-jacking. But is there more to this crime than meets the eye?
Razor Sharp Productions proudly present,” She wears Scented Rose”, a gripping new thriller written and directed by Yasir Senna.” From the company that brought ‘Rumble’ comes this gripping new thriller.
‘She wears Scented Rose’ is a brand new, previously unstaged play which will keep you on the edge of your seat right until the end. Not to be missed.
Razor Sharp Productions produce original new plays designed to keep an audience gripped from start to finish.
Combining the excitement of film with the intensity of theatre our aim is to give audiences an unforgettable experience.
Mark – Craig Karpel
David – Simon Ryerson
Verity – Niki Mylonas
Di Kane – Rosalie Carn
Dr Nicalou – Mahesch Kumar
Denly – Michael Mayne
Mr Steel – Martin Balanow
Neve – Natalie Mitson
Sadie – Charlotte Campbell
Nurse – Kerry-Ann Goode
Stage Manager – Angel Fomina
Stage Hands – Natalie Harcourt & Michael Alexander & Jacob Mottershead & Marina Simmons & Maeve Elmore & Lily Grasso
Set Designer & Costumes Advisor – Wendy Parry
Set Construction – Chris Musgrave
Lighting Designer – Leo Bacica
Promotional Material – Anna Wieclaw
Marketing Manager – Anna Postl
Assistant Director – Rebecca Lyon
Director – Yasir Senna