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November 12, 2009 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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The Vertical Hour


Circa’s production of The Vertical Hour seems to face the exact opposite of a problem that regularly plagues the theatre. The problem I speak of is great plays getting bad productions. There can be no doubt that it is a great production. The set, by Andrew Foster, is an powerful achievement of space and colour and tone that is worth the price of entrance alone, a small dais engulfed by a wide white cyc on which the needed locations are projected, becomes a beautifully changeably and watchable space, claustrophobic yet totally open to the audience. The performances are on the whole solid, with only Rimmer’s slyly shifting US accent grating and the direction is solid and assured.

But nothing happens.

And it’s not their fault. David Hare knows how to write, he has spent a good few years showing us all that. So, it is baffling that he produced this. The Vertical Hour, as a piece of writing, is not so much a play as a two and a half lopsided retread of well know grounds about the Iraq war. A worthy subject of discussion and a worthy subject for the theatre. But, that’s it. Barring a fleeting subtext and subplot or two. All we are left with a series of duologues going over and over the minutia of global politics. It maybe somewhat hypocritical of me to say, but just watching people talk isn’t that interesting. While the cast and crew make a very good and very solid wack at it, the script lets them down.

This is a very good production in search of a better script.

The Vertical Hour
Written by David Hare
Directed by Jane Waddell
With Jodie Rimmer, Peter Hayden, Aaron Alexander, Hadleigh Walker and Tansy Hayden

At Circa One, 10 Oct – 7 Nov 2009

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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