Sunday, 10 February 2008

THOUGHTS: "A Prayer For My Daughter"

(Going rapid-fire here, four shows in a week and behind on updates...)

The RZ is one of those wacky types of people who will go to a show just to see a new venue and its use of space. In this case, his first exposure to the Young Vid is the odd reshaping of the auditorium for Thomas Babe’s A Prayer For My Daughter. Using a v-shaped auditorium and strip stage (which almost certainly has a proper term that the RZ can’t remember), Dominic Hill’s direction fails to invoke the desired effect of a claustrophobic police station in a 1970’s New York summer.

Indeed, Hill’s stage picture (coupled with Giles Cadle’s designs and Bruno Poet’s lighting) is strange and unnecessary given the story: two corrupt police officers bring in a gay junkie couple of distinctly different ages on murder charges. Alcoholic!Cop has a parallel story revolving around a suicidal daughter calling from various locations around the Bronx. As time starts running out, the goal becomes clear: extract a confession from one of the hoods first and deal with family crisis second. From here, a mess of psychological intrigue and dialogue unfolds as the cops and crooks are separated, spar verbally, philosophise, and throw around the word daughter and the associated relationships lending a twisted angle to the proceedings.

Despite the messy and underused designs, the play shines through: the audience are captured by the events and mental (mis)state of the characters, and while the cast can’t always keep their accents, they fill their roles well.

While some will be turned off by the graphic use of drugs and full frontal male nudity (or full rear male nudity depending on which side of the V you’re sitting in), fans of plays like The Pillowman will be taken in by the layered depth of this work.

Where: Young Vic
When: M-Sa @ 19:30, W/Sa @ 14:30. Through 15 March.
How Much: £25 General Admission
Concessions: Students for £10, other groups get £5 off.
RZ Unofficial “Worth Paying”: £17.50
RZ Other Notes: The restaurant at the Young Vic is rather nice, not too expensive, and makes a mean tofu burger and excellent chips.

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