To alleviate the trend that has come across in all the recent Drama Barn reviews: I won’t mention the cold, inside or outside the barn yesterday evening. It was a musty, comparatively warm evening as we all waited outside for God of Carnage. I knew nothing about the play, apart from a spammed Facebook group promising the 90 minute show had won awards and prizes when performed on the West End and Broadway. The Drama Barn was especially packed for a first night. Perhaps it was the perfectly laid out set that mirrored an upper class living room looking as if from the 1920s, or the promise of exacerbated profanities, but the atmosphere was tense, excited for the show to begin.
As we walked in, the Vallons who were the hosting couple were setting up the house in preparation for their guests, as well as their audience, to arrive. It created an inviting atmosphere which highlighted the work that had gone into the meeting as well as the play itself. The set never changed, the four actors never left the stage and there was no interval. The basic plot is that two 12-year-old boys have a childish fight, which ended catastrophically with one boy loosing two teeth. The parents meet in an extraordinarily civilized meeting to discuss how to sort this problem out while they eat Clafouti (a pretentious French cake) and drink coffee.
However, the meeting quickly descends into chaos, when social niceties are thrown out of the window after a few wrongly placed words and some harmful insinuations are exchanged by the characters. What make this play fascinating are the constantly changing loyalties and animalistic qualities that are brought to light. As the actors moved from emotion to emotion, the audience moved with them, finding ourselves laughing one moment and horrified the next.
Mungo Tatton-Brown played Alain, a hard working lawyer, consistently interrupting the tense conversations with his latest case. His wife, Helena Clark, played Annette and their chemistry worked perfectly. The climax of the play was a rum induced incident involving Alain’s mobile, which once again shifted the dynamics between the characters on stage. The other couple Michael (Max Fitzroy- Stone) and Veronique (Claire Curtis- Ward) were both fantastic. The huge array of emotions showed very different aspects of all of the characters, and it felt like a constant rollercoaster.
Rory McGregor directed a truly excellent play which everyone in the audience clearly enjoyed. The characters were all completely believable and there was not one weak performance, the chemistry and electricity between the characters was incredible. As the actors moved from emotion to emotion, the audience moved with them, finding ourselves laughing one moment and horrified the next.
This was a fantastic show and definitely not one to be missed.
God of Carnage is on at the Drama Barn on Saturday 16hth and Sunday 17th February at 7.30pm. Tickets are still available on doors but make sure to get there early to not miss out.