Making Noise Quietly - Review

In this trilogy of plays the author, Robert Holman, depicts relationships in which the characters have been touched by the common thread of war - a very pertinent theme at this present time.

In the first and to my mind the weakest of the plays, Being Friends, two strangers, Eric a gay artist & Oliver a conscientious objector, meet in a field in Kent during World War Two and talk about its effect upon their lives and futures. The actors were let down by dialogue that came across as stilted and a storyline that did not ring true. The writing improved for Lost, the poignant story of the visit to a mother, May, by Geoffrey, a naval colleague of her son following his death during the Falklands Campaign. The last of the plays being the title piece was the most dramatic of the evening’s offerings and concerned an old woman, Helene a victim of the concentration camps, who befriends a mute child Sam and Alan, a British soldier in modern Germany. In the difficult part of the child Dan Everson showed great skill in expressing himself without the benefit of speech.

The three remaining members of the cast were called upon to play dual roles and clearly welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate their considerable acting ability in creating totally different characters. Jason Abrahams portrayal of Eric, the sensitive, articulate artist, was sharply contrasted by his foul-mouthed, angry Alan. The roles of Oliver & Geoffrey presented a challenge to Paul Gruber who was required to play two passive characters. He subtly managed to differentiate the two. Mary Matson brought great pathos to the role of the mother torn between the sorrow of her son’s death and her anger at his estrangement from the family. As Helene she transformed herself from a woman of weakness to one of strength.

The staging of the plays in the round by Hannah Price was simple yet effective and I was particularly taken by the use of the four television monitors around the theatre to give a background setting for each play i.e. blue skies; Falklands newsreels & a forest.

Barrie Jerram