Script In Hand
3 stars ***
Summerhall (Venue 26)
IT BEGINS SO well, this new two-hander from the Piece Of Work company of Manchester. In a suitably old-fashioned Summerhall lecture theatre, a man in a mid 20th century tweed suit is preparing to face the day; behind him sits an old-style wooden radio, crackling out news of the 1930’s.
The story, it seems, is to be about the fascinating figure of Paul Renner, artist, typographer, and creator of the great futura typeface, who was forced into internal exile by the Nazis after they decided that only traditional Gothic type was sufficiently patriotic and German; there are some gorgeous animations by Andy Cooper, reflecting this aspect of the story.
Within ten minutes, though, Sean Gregory’s show – beautifully performed by Paul Warriner and Stewart Lockwood – starts to tail off into a ridiculous whinge about the experiences of an actor called Toby Williams, playing Renner in a London production, who is cruelly robbed of all his lines and silenced, rather – he thinks – like his hero. It’s a silly, self-absorbed analogy at best; and the fact that no-one involved realised just how tasteless it is undermines every other aspect of this potentially interesting show, despite some fine design and acting.
Until 18 August