A Kidnapping

The latest production at Hope Mill is A Kidnapping, presented by Swaggering Crow.  

One Van. Two plonkers.  What occurs to you when your bungled Kidnapping goes awry? Aaron and Rob are running out of time, with their unfortunate hostage and their nefarious overseer.

A Vauxhall van fills the stage, broken down in isolated woods.  When the doors open we can see right inside the van. In the back, a hostage, bound, gagged and hooded. But have the kidnappers done their job right, what are the consequences, and what were they really trying to do?  Somewhat surreal, definitely absurd, the central thread is a a simple story well told, although at times jumping forward too quickly.  Set design, sound and lights all work well to create the threatening atmosphere.

But this play is all about the motivations of, and relationship between, the two kidnappers.  Both flawed, both with secrets, the most effective scenes are where we see deep into their lives, to see both how similar and how different they are.  The pace slows and there is a wonderful balance between the violence, humour and compassion within the situation.  As additional characters are added, scenes move faster but this doesn’t necessarily make them more threatening.  At times there’s just too much dialogue.  But it’s well directed and acting is excellent throughout the cast of five.

Half way through a crow appears to provide narrative, like Macbeth’s witches or a Greek chorus. It’s surreal and effective but only used the one time which makes the play unbalanced.   The crow would have made a better opening scene.

It’s a well staged, well acted production, bringing a memorable piece of tragicomic writing to the stage; but the writing’s not without flaws.

Hope Mill, 6 – 11  Feb 2017, details here.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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