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Review of Tiny Dynamite at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Niall Bishop, Tanya Fear and Eva-Jane Willis in Tiny Dynamite, by Richard Davenport
Niall Bishop, Tanya Fear and Eva-Jane Willis in Tiny Dynamite, by Richard Davenport

I feel like ever since I met you two, I’ve never felt so happy and so lonely in all my life’. This sentiment, at once so saddening and so intriguing, is echoed throughout Abi Morgan’s Tiny Dynamite, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2001. In this revival by Time Productions at the Old Red Lion Theatre, director David Loumgair ensures we feel uneasy throughout this piece, unsure of what the future holds for the 3 central characters, or for ourselves. Dubbed as ‘3 points of the same triangle’, it becomes clear that when one character moves, the ripple effect that ensues can gain mass and momentum, creating tidal waves of destruction.

Here we have Anthony (Niall Bishop) and Luce (Eva-Jane Willis), childhood friends that have come to the coast ostensibly for a holiday, with the underlying purpose to ‘make Anthony well again’. It becomes clear that the two friends, polar opposites in both occupation and personality, remain locked together as a result of their shared history. A traumatic event lurks underneath their sharp and often barbed retorts, with Luce both protecting and patronising Anthony whilst harbouring suppressed memories of her own. In comes Madeleine (Tanya Fear), a sassy young woman working in the local area, who begins to sense their sorely kept secret. A breath of fresh air, Madeleine’s sense of freedom and fun both attracts and drives a wedge between Luce and Anthony. There can only be one winner – but who? And at what cost?

Morgan’s writing is dotted with monologued accounts of individuals facing uncanny and untimely ends as the result of careless words or actions. These grizzly stories, often found on the back pages of newspapers for our
entertainment, serve to highlight the existence of miracles, or the sliding doors phenomenon. Every action, every choice, appears to have an effect; our job, therefore, is to be mindful of the impact our decisions can have down the line.

Perhaps Anna Reid’s stage design reflects this: the cast are surrounded by a rivulet of water, which when stepped into, invites the perilous lightning strike that struck Anthony as a little boy. Lightning is not meant to strike twice – but in Morgan’s play, beautifully acted by a stellar cast, anything is possible: even love.

4 stars

Review by Amy Stow

When memory takes hold, when chaos takes over and when the electricity between us becomes overwhelming – an impossible love story is given a second chance and three scorched characters are about to learn that lightning does strike twice.

Tiny Dynamite, by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Abi Morgan, returns to London for its first professional revival in 15 years. This play, one of her early works, explores how tiny events from our pasts can have explosive effects on our futures.

Tiny Dynamite follows the story of two childhood friends, eternally bound by a traumatic event from their pasts, that has left them incapable of moving on with their lives. But during their annual pilgrimage to the countryside, the pair encounter a beautiful stranger who couldn’t possibly exist, someone who threatens to uncover a truth long since buried.

Tiny Dynamite
Performance Dates Tuesday 9th January – Saturday 3rd February 2018
Running time 90 minutes
Twitter @TheTimeProd
Director David Loumgair
Designer Anna Reid
Old Red Lion Theatre
418 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ,
www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk

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