Cold, Dark Matters

Cold Dark Matters is the story of a writer. Ostensibly, not the writer Jack Brownridge Kelly, but his strikingly similar Cornish character Colin.

Bearing a writer's heart involves existential pain as much as flames, moonshine and splinters

A dark satire performed at the Hope Theatre with murmurings from the downstairs pub adding to the ambience, Cold Dark Matters begins with Jack, the writer himself, instantly likeable in that jittery apologetic way of the English, as he prepares us for the lonely yarn he’s about to spin.

Told through an extended monologue with a few, well-played West Country voices for range, Cold Dark Matters, takes us on a rural writer’s retreat where a shed becomes a central and juicy metaphor for many of the play’s themes. The shed is a mundane thing, standing isolated with space only for one person, full of mysteries only accessible to the imagination. The shed is a metaphor for writing itself.

When Jack enters character, we lose the bumbling authenticity of Jack and gain the jarringly non-distinct perspective of Colin. With Colin as a buffer and the shed as our vocal point, it is easier for Jack to explicate the hopes and fears of an isolated writer seeking inspiration and community. But bearing a writer's heart is a rough process involving existential pain as much as flames, moonshine and splinters.

Though we are watching Colin, we are actually watching Jack stage his coldest, darkest matters. Tellingly, it is Jack who takes us to the play’s denouement, playing an anonymously sent audio file entitled ‘real ending’. This final snippet of truth in Jack’s tale brings about devastation, seeing our writer faced with an existential crisis that he tries to play off as ‘not real’.

The blasé ending, while whimsical, leaves us wanting. Jack seems to want to brush the play’s key themes of death and loneliness under the rug. Forget about it, Jack says, I made it up - it’s not real. In doing so, our attention is drawn to the art of story. We are left with the layered question of the story’s purpose: if Jack made it all made up, what, if anything, is real?

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Reviews by Laura Tucker

Marylebone Theatre

The Dream of A Ridiculous Man

★★★★
London Coliseum

Duke Bluebeard's Castle

★★★★
The Hope Theatre

Cold, Dark Matters

★★★
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

Junk Monkey

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Declan

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

The Death of Molly Miller

★★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

There’s a shed in that field. It’s long forgotten. Unloved some would say. According to one curious stranger, it will soon be blown up.

A satirical dark comedy about rural communities, isolation, and faddism, Cold, Dark Matters delves into the murky underwaters of a community in Cornwall and its new resident whose desire for a rural retreat may not be all that it seems...

Audience feedback:
* 'Beautifully written, structured, and performed... Loved it!'  - Mark Jenkin (BAFTA Winning Film Director of BAIT and ENYS MEN)
* 'I absolutely loved this, what a great night! Really engrossing and engaging story and performance. Perfect format.'
* 'I loved that I’ve been mulling over the ending all week. I was totally invested in the story from start to the end.'
* 'Quick witted humour drenched in satire.'
* 'One of the best things I’ve seen in a while. Brilliant writing performed with skill and consideration for the audience, loved it.'

About the artist:
Jack is an alumnus of The Royal Court's Introduction to Playwrighting Programme. He trained as an actor at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has since performed in numerous theatres across the Southwest (Tobacco Factory, Salisbury Playhouse, Theatre Royal Plymouth). In Cornwall he has recently performed with o-region (NADELIK) and The Minack (Superstition Mountain, Further Than The Furthest Thing). Jack will also be appearing in comedian Joe Lycett's upcoming short film 'MARK.

Latecomers may not be admitted. Please arrive in good time for the start time of 19:45.
Under 18s are not permitted into the theatre for this performance. 
No re-admittance once the performance has commenced. Refunds and exchanges are not available.

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