Stage Review October 2004
Boxes feature strongly in Platform 4's production, previewing
prior to a spring tour next year. Writer Anna Maria Murphy uses
the boxes of semi-surrealist Joseph Cornell as the starting point
for her quirky film noir plot about run-down hotels and lonely
guests who venture within. Set designer Simon Plumridge has mirrored
the theme in his dusty, down-at-heel hotel full of cramped box
rooms and a basement stacked floor to ceiling with shoeboxes in
which hotel owner Terence collects bits left behind by past guests.
It is a highly visual piece, strong on atmosphere, which Catherine
Church directs with precision and invention, extracting well-drawn
performances from her cast of three.
Chris Talman is quietly sinister
as Terence, sloping around the stage in subservient fashion before
exploding into sudden violence. Verity Hewlett is excellent at
suggesting the bruised vulnerability
of his emotionally starved daughter Tilly, locked away in her
boxroom.Like a butterfly begging to be singed, she flutters around
the flame of flamboyant actress Beatty. Toni Midlane makes her
has-been, a faded bird of paradise clinging onto the memories
of past stage triumphs. The atmospheric soundtrack, by composer
Jules Bushell, contributes
hugely - witty in places and heightening the tension in others.
There is humour in the noisy eating of a dry piece of toast, and
danger too as the piece
slips into Hitchcock territory. There are still rough edges
to this potential gem, but there is time for polishing between
now and the spring tour.
- Lesley Bates
Salisbury Journal Review: September 30 2004
Claustrophobia doesn't give
much away as far as titles go. Being a Platform 4 production
however, it was bound to be quirky,
well-acted and highly entertaining. Their latest production currently
showing in the Salberg Studio at Salsibury Playhouse, didn't
disappoint. Set in the Hotel Eden - a run-down, colourless place
full of junk
and old posters of film stars - the play centres around three characters.
Terence is the introverted owner and father of Tilly, his innocent
teenage daughter who has never ventured out of the hotel and pines
for the mother she never knew. Suddenly a guest arrives, the
flamboyant actress Beatty, and their
lives are never the same again. Beatty helps to bring both father
and daughter out of their shells, but Terence still can't communicate
with his daughter and Tilly feels increasingly isolated.
By the end what happens to the three characters next is anyones
guess, but you're left hoping that Tilly can find her mother and
start afresh. Chris Talman, Verity Hewlett and Toni Midlane were
Terence, Tilly and Beatty, and although the story was zany, the
audience seemed captivated and there was a hearty round of applause.
STUFF of NIGHTMARES in HAUNTING HOSTELRY
An evocative, sinister glimpse into repression,
fantasy and nightmare, Platform 4’s new production Claustrophobia,
enthralled from the very beginning.
Set in the decaying Hotel Eden, the play concerns the fortunes
of past-her- best vamp and actress, Beatty as she stops
off one lonely night at the decidedly uninviting
hostelry and commits herself to the care of the sinister Terence and his
half mad daughter, Tilly.
Performed at The Arc Theatre
in Trowbridge on Friday the play is a delight
to behold – not least because of the fascinating and highly effective
set, a cross section of the hotel with rooms stacked on top of each other,
garret where Tilly sleeps in a trunk to the basement where Terence obsessively
collects shells, gloves and dozens of other bits and pieces in carefully
Andrea Sadler was a treat as the boozy actress carrying around her suitcases
of dresses and memories, and Verity Hewlett excelled as the fey little girl
who longed to escape from the dust and despair of her hotel life.
brought a decidedly creepy edge to his depiction of the hotelier who locks
up his daughter and whose wife has mysteriously disappeared.
Terence and Beatty brought a real sensual intensity to the play when they
took on romantic roles from Beatty’s plays and acted out passions
entirely missing from their own disappointing lives.
The sound design and
composition of the piece were an important part of
the creation of an enclosed atmosphere, thanks to the strange and beautiful
put together by Jules Bushell.
Haunting, eerie and with
a fine eye to detail in the performance, set and costume, Claustrophobia
a surreal treat. Terrific.
Sarah Singleton, The Wiltshire
Gazette and Herald 10 March 2005
CLAUSTROPHOBIA presented by PLATFORM
4 at LIGHTHOUSE, POOLE’S CENTRE FOR THE ARTS
The wind howls
and the sign for the dilapidated Hotel Eden creaks desolately.
The Hotel is owned by an obsessional model maker
and staffed by his repressed daughter. Quite what happened to
the mother – who
left behind a fabulous dress in a hat box – is never revealed.
And there are boxes everywhere.
The arrival of a self-delusional
actress, full of fantasises about creating her own one woman
show, is the catalyst that reawakens
the father’s passions and literally opens doors for the
daughter. Laden with references to Hitchcock and featuring
a terrific role-play
based around Tennessee Williams, the play is full of tension,
humour and delightfully witty coordination.
layered piece boasts a wonderfully detailed set and is perfectly
suited to the intimate studio space at
Three talented actors give perfectly weighted performances
and the sound effects are truly atmospheric.
John Billington, Southampton
Echo 23 April 2005