Hypnosisby David Tristram; dir Phil Quinn
Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth
3 – 8 February 2014

Hypnosis eh? I want you to close your eyes and empty your mind. It is 1954 and you are stuck in Clacton on a wet Tuesday in June. Fortunately you have a ticket for the show at the end of the pier. This is where the Talisman’s current offering would be at home. This is a play which comes from a world when television was black and white and footballers had a full head of hair.

This is merely descriptive of the genre and should not be seen as a criticism. There is a place for the retro, and here, thanks to director Phil Quinn, we have a gentle enough piece, well handled by all involved.

It is short, highly implausible and at times amusing enough. Just three actors; an alcoholic hypnotist, a psychotic detective with a gun and his wife, a libidinous banker, have devised a plot to rob her bank. It doesn’t go smoothly.

John Francis gives us a rather deranged detective. An effective piece of acting as he offers a very energy packed performance. Throughout he puts one in mind of a mad axe man on the edge of committing mayhem. There might, however, have been some benefit, at times, in considering the gloved hand approach rather than presenting the bare knuckle. This would have offered him a richer palette.

Kathy Crawshaw invites you to see bankers in a different light – a very revealing one at times. Another well considered performance full of pace, venom and urgency. Given the low regard in which bankers are held these days we might have hoped for a clear invitation to chuckle when she invites our respect by saying, “after all I am a banker”.

The hypnotist at the centre of the play is Graham Underhill. His bumbling incompetence in his chosen craft suits the play well and, at times, he attracts our concern for his welfare. A nicely varied performance and he succeeds in driving the rapidly changing and unlikely events upon which the play depends.

The evening is made the more enjoyable by June Malcome’s delightful black and white set which clearly defines the two locations demanded by the plot.



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