Closing Time

Site specific theatre is a great way to immerse an audience into the world that the piece creates. Being a play about a pub, in a pub, Closing Time does just that as it invites us to take a look at the individual lives that are all connected to it.

Closing Time is a well constructed and enjoyable play.

Firstly, this create an atmosphere that could not be possible within a theatre. The smell of beer and sight of actors in and around the bar create a sense of realism that could only be possible in this particular setting. However, this does also have its problems. As the play spans a period of time leading up to the pubs close, transactions between scenes can often be confusing without the help of the theatrical illusion showing when a scene ends and a new one begins. Also, due to the layout of the pub, it is difficult to see everything that is going on throughout the piece, but the actors clear projection does help with this.

Closing Time is written by Scott Murphy and, on the whole, the script is fantastic. Murphy captures the dialogue very well indeed and the script is so naturalistic that, being in the pub, it is easy to forget that you are watching a play. The play deals tastefully with a few relevant issues such as drugs, broken families and the closing of small businesses and there is plenty for each audience member to identify with on an individual level. But, very occasionally, these issues seem a little diluted by characters pushing the boundaries from reality into parody. Dave (Mark Lacey) and Irene (Katie Tracey) provide a lovely comic relief to the play, yet one particular scene involving an imaginary hoover seemed to exaggerate the characters too much and the realism of the play began to slightly drift away. This considered, the actors all did a fantastic job, capturing the accents and emotions of each character superbly.

This production is a good demonstration of how site specific theatre can really add to the atmosphere of a production. Closing Time is a well constructed and enjoyable play, but there are small instances where the inconveniences of staging a play in a pub do expose themselves and this does slightly dilute the strong content of the piece.

Reviews by Alex Hargreaves

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The Blurb

In this play about a pub, in the pub, the audience catch a glimpse of the last days of its existence. It focuses on the lives that exist within it, including landlord Johnny, his returning, heroin-addicted son, his God-fearing, vodka-loving, interfering sister in law, his confidante and cleaner Chris, and his number one customer who suffers from a serious identity crisis. The concept is that the audience feel more like punters in this site-specific piece of theatre.