Berkoff's Hell & Dostoevsky's Dream of a Ridiculous Man - George Dillon's Vital Theatre (page 101)
Drams a wee one
Venue Hill Street Theatre (124)
Address 19 Hill Street, 226 6522

In an intense performance, George Dillon delivers two monologues on loneliness and suicide. He is a talented actor and this is a powerful piece of theatre.

"Hell" said Sartre, "is other people" but Stephen Berkoff makes a convincing case that actually, hell is being alone. A man sits in a chair, naked apart from his underwear. Speaking softly he tells us about his life. It's a frank confession of emptiness, stemming from a lack of someone to love. The story is shorn of most personal details; we don't even learn the man's name. The effect is to make the play universal in it's reach. The writing is unflinching and deadly accurate. Everyone emphasises with the man on stage.

Dream of a Ridiculous Man presents another suicidal and lonely man, but it has a kernel of blind optimism that is a welcome uplift. Here Dillon switches to an energetic style that feels somewhat overacted - his understated delivery of Hell is more effective. This piece is more ambitious in what it has to say. The dream includes a sharp little satire of human society. It's less emotionally powerful, but a good counterpart to Hell.

This is brave theatre: one man, emotionally stripped bare on stage (twice). The message is simple and as ancient as mankind: both plays speak eloquently of the need for love, and the damaging effect of it's absence.

Runs until 27 Aug, not 20th, 22nd or 25th at 5:55:pm (7:25). Tickets £8 (£5)
Daniel Winterstein, 16th August 2001