The Local Stigmatic
@Old Red Lion
Reality Rating: 4/5
Fidget Factor: 0.3
Playing with Sociopaths
Graham and Ray, two cads, squander their days away with betting ventures, bickering and constant efforts to fuel each others manic conduct. An unhealthy obsession with the famous, leads these two sociopaths to seek out those in the lime light and begin a nasty, brutal game of intimidation.
The 50th Anniversary of Heathcote Williams’ play, The Local Stigmatic, is celebrated through this beckoning adaptation of an astonishing yet disturbing piece of writing. Outside the obvious, Director, Michael Toumey finds several different ways of delivering the script which are unconventional to the denotations the lines suggest. Toumey uses great lengths of pause, allowing the audience to focus on the character’s moments of deranged thought and plottings, adding to the psychotic nature of the production.
The difference between these sociopaths lies in remorse. Graham’s constant focus of rage only breaks when either impersonating a celebrity or during the time he transforms into a ‘devoted fan’ in order to trap his victims. Ray on the other-hand shows several moments of pause; reflection which indicates a glimmer of guilt. Ray’s calculated acts of violence whilst completely sober are particularly shocking; it’s easy to forget Ray’s menace during the humorous conversations full of playful, childlike behaviour until he returns to violence, usually provoked by Graham. The most gripping part to this performance is captured in the last few minutes, when Ray is found gazing at the photograph of their latest victim, stroking the face of this gentleman before Graham rips the photograph from the wall and leaves glaring back at Ray in disgust. The guilt we recognised before is suddenly given context, attacks made in order to deny their homosexual longings.
William Frazer gives a scintillating performance of Ray; his eerie sense of enjoyment as he attacks David (Tom Sawyer) is unnerving. The balance between savage and gentleman gives the character the essential mix that creates a sociopathic demeanor. Wilson James (previously seen by Scatter in his debut Theatre performance of Mine) maintains a manic glare and gruff voice, elements which contribute to the unsettling, heionous character of Graham. Not to be forgotten, the outsider and victim of Graham and Rays antics is played by Tom Sawyer – particularly compelling in his courteous, likable depiction of David.
The advertising aesthetics for this production are spectacular, Laura Wingrove offers lurid art work to reflect the piece and Joel Bodin’s photography for the posters and social media cause considerable amounts of curiosity.
Brilliantly executed, this revival of the hair-raising The Local Stigmatic is unmissable. For all those who take pleasure in superbly written, challenging productions – get yourselves up to The Old Red Lion in Angel and enjoy a disturbing and magnetic hour of entertainment.
Click for Tix: @Old Red Lion
Time: 1 Hour
Running: 3 MAY 16 ► 28 MAY 16
▦ Photos – Courtesy of Scott Rylander
♥ Thank you to Katy Eynon @Chloe Nelkin for the invite
♥ Thanks to Greg Spong for his ‘Hemosa of Selsdon’ racing dog – the perfect reflection of agression and thrill in The Local Stigmatic