Chesil Theatre kicked off their Golden Jubilee season with God of Carnage by French writer Yasmina Reza, and the small venue was packed to view this latest offering from the group.
The play is intense, lasts about one and a half hours, without an interval, and is the story of how two sets of parents are thrust together after their respective children have a fight in the school playground.
I have to say that I struggled with the play. It was very dark and at times very weird indeed. It was also a play that felt the need to add swear words just for the sake of it that did not really move anything forward at all. This was not though a reflection on the cast or director, who all had worked very hard on this production.
Steve Clark as Alan Raleigh turned in a good performance as the work-driven man who spent virtually the whole play on his mobile phone. Helen Symes also was very convincing as Veronica Novak, the art-crazed mother who clearly had a big edge of sadness and OCD, not an easy part to portray. Less convincing were Marcus Whitfield as Michael Novak, whom I struggled to hear at times, and Sarah Jayne Wareham as Annette Raleigh, the drunken wife, who perhaps slightly over-did it on occasion.
However, a lot of dedication and polish had gone into this production and this was clear for the 65- strong audience to see. The production flowed very well and there was a confidence in the delivery from the cast that was impressive, bearing in mind the volume of words that had been learned very thoroughly.
The set was simple and modern, lots of black curtains and an attempt at keeping things very minimalistic. The costume and props were all very realistic and helped support the performance overall.
Would I see the play again? No I wouldn’t. Would I see the group again? Yes. Sometimes live theatre can split the crowd and this is one of those times I think.
You can see God of Carnage at the Chesil Theatre until Saturday 24th September.