One of the most appealing aspects of the 24:7 theatre festival is the unexpected nature of what you are about to see.
But, when it’s a new play by Matthew Dunster, it’s probably a given that you will be in for a crackling ride.
Dunster, who is an Associate Director of London’s Young Vic, has worked closely with the Royal Exchange, which produced his play, You Can See The Hills, and for which he recently adapted 1984 and directed Mogadishu.
He is known for his exciting and edgy work and it feels like the concept of the festival has allowed him to experiment further with this latest piece, creating a play that is far from the mainstream in both content and language.
I Know Where The Dead Are Buried is about rising racial tensions in Oldham, where Dunster grew up. However, while there is a menacing undercurrent throughout, things aren’t always as they seem.
It opens with Dave (Guy Hargreaves) and Colin (Daniel Hayes), two PC World salesmen who share a flat, not always amicably, with Dave’s dog, Billy.
Harry (an excellent Tony Hirst) shows up. On the surface he is bullying and thuggish, yet on the flipside he works as a children’s entertainer and hates that his daughter, Candy finds him boring. Candy (Rachel Austin) self-harms and, like all of the characters, can be both vulnerable and manipulative.
A good ensemble cast bring out the underlying brutality and violence of Dunster’s script. It often makes for uncomfortable viewing, but given the subject that is precisely how we are meant to feel.
I Know Where The Dead Are Buried by Matthew Dunster is at Sachas Hotel from 21 July 2011 to 28 July 2011.
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