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OUR SHADOWS WALK – Etcetera Theatre, London.

our shadows walk, etcetera theatreDisturbing; in a word, Our Shadows Walk is disturbing – in terms of content and in parts a lack of attention to detail. After a slow and somewhat lackluster opening, the pace quickens and the characters develop into people you genuinely want to know more about.

The whole cast handles a difficult and somewhat ambiguous subject matter well. The suitably minimal setting conveys the anonymity of the ‘Bureau’ and thus enhances the audience’s empathy with the elusive ‘Benjamin’, as it is not initially clear where or when the action is taking place. The piece is surprisingly humorous in places, although definitely black humour and not always amusing for the right reasons. Centered around an interrogation and the fallout from this session, for both the interrogators and interrogated, makes for an interesting narrative that takes place in three distinct sections.

Lisa Morris in the role of Carmine is particularly noteworthy, as she is utterly compelling and engaging throughout her performance – consequently bringing the necessary integrity, depth and credibility of character in performance that was sadly lacking in places (although not consistently). This is largely due to a low level of plausibility in certain events and some actions/reactions of the other characters.

Danny Pegg’s script has a lot of potential and particularly the interview between Carmine and Goldsmith (played by Anna McCormick), is a truly brilliant piece of theatrical dialogue. However, the other more fractious sections of dialogue cause any tension previously built to quickly dissipate. The ending is clever, thought provoking and confirms for me that this is a piece worth seeing – it is also the section where Alex Israel’s direction is at it’s best.

I can’t say for sure what Our Shadows Walk is about or even what it is trying to say, but I think this is one of it’s virtues; it is surprising in a variety of ways and definitely worthy of an audience. All at once it manages to unsettle, entertain and confound the audience in equal measures, which I consider to be a big plus. Our Shadows Walk provides allusions to recent social and political events, without overtly presenting these themes. Whether this was a deliberate intention of Pegg’s or not, it makes for an interesting subtextual reading should you wish to.

Our Shadows Walk presents some difficult ideas and poses the audience with the ever present question of do we really know what goes on within our country? This is one to watch if you want to consider that question further.

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Reviewed 19/06/14

By Emily Jones
@JonesEmilyh

18th June – 5th July 2014
Etcetera Theatre, London, NW1.

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