Reviewed: Mermaids’ “Closer”

“Closer” was a successful departure from the classic plays that have appeared across St Andrews so far this semester.

“In a world of dreams and distractions, holding onto love means tearing it from others.”

“And what would your euphemism be?” she asked slyly. “He was…reserved” he replied. “And mine?”. “She was…disarming”.

And thus began the first relationship of the many that were portrayed by just four people in Mermaids’ production of modern classic “Closer” by Patrick Marber, directed by Daniel Jonusas.

The aforementioned “she” and “he”, nomad Alice and obituary writer Dan, have found themselves thrust together by fate, for better or for worse. The subsequent appearances of “Doctor Larry” and photographer Anna are all that is required to spur the play into action.

The action, it must be said, is little more than a series of illicit affairs, sweet seductions and explosive separations. Practically every scene moves the action on by months or even years down the line, with the loyalties and alliances of each character changing with nearly every jump. I say “loyalties and alliances” because the relations between the characters have a military quality. Hook-ups are artillery strikes, divorce papers are bargaining chips; the romance we are teased with in the first scene becomes an emotional ambush for an unsuspecting audience.

Image: Closer

No pressure then for the performers chosen to portray such enigmatic, strategic lovers. Luckily, all four rose to the challenge admirably, finding the nuances in their characters so well that every choice they made were both complete surprises and totally obvious. Bailey Fear’s Dan was by turns charming and infuriating, giving a confident turn as both a convincing romantic lead (a term I use loosely) and a manipulative abuser: two categories which go hand in hand more than we care to admit in storytelling. The battle between both sides that come to define Dan was shown with compelling nuance. Likewise, Hannah Gilchrist’s Alice was apparently assured, but always had a suggestion of something brewing under the surface, which worked well with the hints towards something darker about her throughout the play. Anna, portrayed by Ellie Hope, was even more inscrutable and more than anyone else seemed to hold the cards throughout the narrative, and she knew it. Louis Wilson gave the most sinister performance as volatile Larry with a steely gaze and self-satisfied smirk that made my skin crawl yet didn’t lead to a caricatural villain: his bitterness was never unwarranted and his emotional moments weren’t gratuitous.

Such detail in the performances was important because they are what make or break the play. With just four characters and a plot that relies on the plausibility of their romantic decisions, any sense of unbelievability would have stuck out like a sore thumb, which didn’t happen in this production. The actors kept up well with the fast-paced dialogue, with smooth transitions signalled by pop songs and coloured lights that reflected the mood (well done, technical designer Grace Cowie) and fast wardrobe changes facilitated by Kat Reynders’ suave and timelessly classy costume concept.

However, a large part of the marketing for the play was the fact that it was a multi-media production. There were four screens suspended above the performance space, but they were quite high and difficult to see if you weren’t sitting at the end of the rectangular room. They were used in probably the most memorable sequence featuring some online catfishing between Dan and Larry. Their messages appeared on the screens whilst being spoken aloud, and the room filled with laughter both at the dialogue and the performance. There did seem to be other films playing throughout – I couldn’t really see. My instinct is to complain about the underwhelming “multimedia” aspect, but the performance didn’t really need it to be entertaining in the first place.

Image: Closer

The set design, by Caelan Mitchell-Bennett, was key to the fluidity of the performance. A double bed stood conspicuously in the centre of the space, with nothing more than a white fitted sheet. A table stood at one end facing it, bearing a strange assortment of objects, from a Newton’s cradle to cigarettes. The bed would become the unifying factor of all the scenes and, if you want to get all analytical about it, became symbolic of the play’s title. Whether characters sitting on the bed were existing in two different spaces (such as the catfishing scene), lying together on it, or standing at opposite ends of it, the bed always reinforced the relationship between the characters – that is, how close or distant they were. One minute a space of love and affection and the next a no man’s land between bitter enemies, it helped map the changing relations throughout the play and allowed for great physical performance, such as during a strip club scene or during a terrifying physical fight. However sporadic and inaccessible the dialogue may have become at times, the set always held everything together.

All in all, “Closer” was a successful departure from the classic plays that have appeared across St Andrews so far this semester. Its two-hour study of love and lust in all its thrilling complication was both touching and shocking, hilarious and tragic. The attention to the characters’ motivations and personalities kept it alive from beginning to end, and I’m willing to bet it left more than a couple of audience members rethinking everything they thought they knew about love – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Comments

comments

110 thoughts on “Reviewed: Mermaids’ “Closer”

  1. excellent issues altogether, you simply received a new reader.
    What could you suggest in regards to your put up that you just made a few days ago?
    Any certain?

  2. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, excellent blog!|

  3. My brother suggested I might like this website. He was entirely right. This put up truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!|

  4. you are in reality a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a great task on this topic!|

  5. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. However just imagine if you added some great pictures or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this blog could definitely be one of the most beneficial in its niche. Superb blog!|

  6. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.|

  7. Hi there, I think your site might be having web browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic blog!|

  8. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.|

  9. I just could not depart your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the standard info a person provide on your visitors? Is gonna be again often to inspect new posts|

  10. I’m pretty pleased to find this website. I wanted to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and I have you book marked to look at new information in your website.|

  11. Pingback: bahis siteleri
  12. Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and in depth information you provide. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

  13. I am curious to find out what blog platform you’re utilizing? I’m having some minor security problems with my latest blog and I would like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any suggestions?|

  14. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return the favor”.I’m trying to find things to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!|

  15. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for beginner blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.|

  16. hello!,I love your writing so so much! percentage we communicate extra about your article on AOL? I need an expert on this area to unravel my problem. Maybe that’s you! Looking forward to look you. |

  17. Hello There. I discovered your weblog the usage of msn. That is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.|

  18. Hi there terrific blog! Does running a blog similar to this take a great deal of work? I have virtually no understanding of coding but I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, should you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share. I understand this is off topic however I just wanted to ask. Thanks!|

  19. May I just say what a comfort to find somebody who truly knows what they’re talking about over the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people have to check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you aren’t more popular because you certainly possess the gift.|

  20. Fantastic items from you, man. I’ve take into account your stuff prior to and you’re just extremely fantastic. I actually like what you have obtained here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way during which you are saying it. You make it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it sensible. I can’t wait to learn much more from you. That is actually a tremendous website.|

  21. Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!|

  22. Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; we have created some nice procedures and we are looking to exchange methods with other folks, be sure to shoot me an e-mail if interested.|

  23. Awesome site you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get suggestions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks!|

  24. I think this is among the most important information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The website style is great, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers|

  25. Hi there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Exceptional blog and amazing design.|

  26. Pretty component to content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to say that I acquire actually loved account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing for your feeds and even I achievement you get right of entry to persistently quickly.|

  27. Whats up this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!|

  28. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this website. Reading this information So i’m glad to exhibit that I have an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I most indisputably will make certain to do not put out of your mind this site and provides it a glance on a continuing basis.|

  29. Hello There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. This is a really neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thank you for the post. I will certainly comeback.|

  30. Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Thank you!|

  31. Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, very good blog!|

  32. I got this website from my buddy who told me regarding this website and at the moment this time I am visiting this web site and reading very informative posts at this time.|

  33. I like the helpful info you provide on your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and test again right here frequently. I’m fairly sure I will be told lots of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!|

  34. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between usability and appearance. I must say you’ve done a amazing job with this. Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Safari. Superb Blog!|

  35. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say you have done a amazing job with this. Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Chrome. Superb Blog!|

  36. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really know what you are speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please additionally talk over with my web site =). We can have a link change arrangement between us|

  37. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I came across this board and I to find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I’m hoping to present one thing again and aid others such as you aided me.|

  38. Can I just say what a relief to uncover somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about online. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people really need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you’re not more popular because you definitely have the gift.|

  39. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the
    book in it or something. I think that you could do with a
    few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic
    blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  40. Pingback: A片
  41. Pingback: Beverly Bultron

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

THE STAND