The Dig – Review by Emily Elphinstone
Theatre Upstairs is kicking of their 2014 season in style, with the World Premiere of ‘The Dig’, from Yes Productions. ‘The Dig’ tells the story of one man’s struggle to build the house, and the life of his dreams, while everything around him seems determined to crumble.
Mark Wale’s new show brings us an all too familiar view of how easily things can fall apart; as Arty loses his job, his house … pretty much everything except a field. With a hugely sympathetic central character, it’s easy to be drawn quickly into the story; but there’s a slight sense that, with talk of dodgy mortgage agreements and escaping to Spain, everything is taking place a few years ago. With a nearly bare stage, and a single brick (used to great effect) as the only prop, there is nothing to distract from Declan Mills’ performance.
Mills tells the story with a great energy, helping the audience to visualise the entire world of the play; from the new locks barring him from his house, to his wife’s precious paintings. Each character is clearly differentiated without being over-played, though Arty’s cold-hearted property tycoon brother-in-law seems too much of a stereotypical villain to be completely believable, as he seems bent on destruction with very little reasoning. However, by creating such a range of beautifully detailed characters elsewhere, it’s easy to get past this. As an audience member, it’s wonderful to be trusted to experience a show with your imagination as well as your senses; and though a couple of sound-effects were slightly out of sync, they were otherwise used to great effect. Theatre Upstairs seems like the ideal space for an intimate one man show such as this, and ‘The Dig’ is a great way to spend an hour. The Dig by Yes Productions runs in Theatre Upstairs until Saturday February 8th.
WRITTEN BY: Mark Wale
DIRECTED BY: Tara Derrington
PERFORMED BY: Declan Mills
SOUND DESIGN BY: David Gillespie
LIGHTING DESIGN BY: Peter Reid