Your first glimpse of the set leaves you feeling like you’ve stepped into a cosy 1930s’ study where a festive classic caper is about to unfold – and you won’t be disappointed with this hugely impressive comedy production, writes Carolyn Hart Taylor
Kindred Spirits, written by Ross McGregor and directed by Kate Bannister, revisits hard-boiled crime fiction, whilst allowing female characters a slice of the pie.
Author Jeremy Rowland, (Brian Moriarty), arrogantly scathing of his dead Aunt Esme’s fictional works, stands in her home, due to inherit her property, including a lifetime of published fiction, but there’s a catch! Naively believing himself the superior writer he is given a month to prove his merit.
With each tap of the typewriter, Jeremy’s life becomes stranger than fiction as literary characters spring to life, propelled by the haunting presence of Aunt Esme.
The three actors’ versatility amazes; playing several roles each, they draw us into a dramatised crime novel. Faced with familiar tropes, Detective Harry Lambert, (Moriarty again) now a trilby-wearing Sam Spade persona full of sassy wisecracks: ‘I do my sleuthing sunny side up’. Comical references spread through each character ensuring there’s never a dull moment.
Rachel Summers effortlessly impresses with multi-characterisations: one minute a shy, awkward Esme super-fan, next a femme fatale straight out of a Raymond Chandler book, then a cool Russian assassin. A major presence throughout, she puts paid to Jeremy’s views on female characters and puts him on the road to an eye-opening literary experience.
Aunt Esme’s drawing room is a revolving door of characters entering and exiting speedily, providing audiences with constant entertainment. Ben Higgins makes an impact in his various roles, including Mrs. Brown and Dr Dupin, powerfully singing, ‘I’ve got a bad case of Loving Lilly’.
The many changes require sophisticated special effects, and the high standard used convincingly transports audiences back and forth from reality into a fictional work. Coupled with actors’ adept accent changes and comic timing you’ll be hooked from the start.
Superbly entertaining festive tale, overflowing with quality acting.
Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, 410 Brockley Road, London, SE4 2DH
Box office: www.brockleyjack.co.uk or 0333 666 3366 (£1.80 fee for phone bookings only)
Dates: Tuesday 14 December to Saturday 8 January at 7.30pm.
Tickets: £16, £14 conc., 11+
Photos: Davor @TheOcularCreative