Berkoff's Hell

George Dillon gives us a virtuoso performance, cutting into the mind of loneliness. Using nothing more than a stool and a spotlight we hear his disembodied voice over a background of sinister but soothing music and delve into the psyche of a man who feels he has nothing to live for. However, a slightly one-dimensional script holds the production back from being of the very top drawer.This short, one-man show follows the depressed musings of Harry, a man who lost his love and has capitulated into a cycle of loneliness. Although self-indulgent in his depression, Dillion never lets the character become insincere. The pain he feels is real pain. The dreamy, monotonous delivery never grates, and instead serves to enhance the feelings of utter despair he faces.The use of a microphone to create a incorporeal feel to the monologuing is clever and effective. Talking over a soft soundtrack adds to the mood and enhances the audience’s emotional investment. There was little movement, and when there was it was very stylised. This was in keeping with the general direction, however it did lead to an overly static feeling at times.For me, however, the show lacks that final spark to make it worthy of five stars. The script is partly to blame for this, lacking in humour and vitality. Although this effectively creates a suffocatingly grim atmosphere befitting the subject matter, it makes the play very one dimensional. Coupled this with its short length, just 35 minutes, and it feels more like a snapshot than a fully developed delve into personal hell.

Reviews by Philip Liebman

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The Blurb

Loneliness is... a solitary profession. 'Unique and fascinating from monotone opening to killer final line.' (List). 'Nothing short of brilliant!' (Evening News). 'Dillon's vulnerability summons the Beckett in Berkoff.' (Times). 'Disturbing, dangerous theatre.' (Guardian). Warning: partial nudity. www.georgedillon.com.

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