Glenn Chandler’s The Lamplighters whisks the audience through the Cumbrian winds into a painfully tragic and violent tale. The complexity of cause and effect is beautifully threaded into the heart of this production through its three protagonists.
Chandler’s deft and finely attuned script shrouds his characters in darkness by way of their unforgiving quest for blame and persecution. Three former policemen, eternally conjoined, are each conflicted by their inability to cope with unresolved inadequacies. Plagued by the guilt of an unsolved murder, they have lost their way. One drinks himself into a paranoid and self-loathing mess, another loses his wife as a result of his angry and frustrated rages, the third presents a charade of calm and authority whilst his body buckles beneath the strain.
Shane Armstrong, Mark Forester-Evans and Stewart Marquis work tirelessly to create a shared history between their characters who are connected through tragedy
Chandler’s well presented drama affords the audience opportunity to reflect on the aftermath of unimaginable cruelty and to view the inevitable demolition of the lives and relationships of those it touches. Shane Armstrong, Mark Forester-Evans and Stewart Marquis work tirelessly to create a shared history between their characters who are connected through tragedy and held in an inescapable state of torment and alcoholism. Although the first act is littered with moments of gallows humour and absurdity, Scott Oswald undeniably boosts the atmosphere of the second half thanks to his portrayal of Billy Tuttle, a character who injects pace and youth into the performance as he stutters and jumps around in a supposed state of fear. Tuttle’s entrance reignites the quarrelling between two of the detectives and fans the flames of deceit which ultimately obliterate all culpable parties. Oswald’s behaviour when outside of the direct action steals the show; his performance is imaginative and excitable, revelling in the destruction of the other characters whilst possessing a chillingly sinister giggle.
The Lamplighters presents the aftermath of murder as a constant battle between justice and absolution. Designer David Shields gifts the performers with a beautifully crafted and cluttered performance space; masked in chaos and hidden beneath a skilfully fashioned mess are the keys to unlocking the truth. The cluttered and frantic living space acts as the perfect accompaniment to the twists and turns of the script. The sound and lighting is cultivated purposefully and intelligently, being used only to heighten moments of importance.
Each element of this production is highly articulate and excellently executed. Put simply, this production takes a fabulous script, adds skilful direction and is finally beautifully delivered by a committed and talented cast.
**** (4 stars)
Runs until April 13th