As the saying goes, "The path to hell is paved with good intentions". If that is the case the members of Goat Theatre are well on their way with their Everyman at theSpace on the Mile.
A downward spiral of good intentions
Meet Alice, or rather listen to her as she makes announcements to the souls trapped in hell in a style that blends newsreader with weather forecaster. The name seems to have no particular significance but rather unfortunately stirs up memories of the delightful song by Smokie, Living next door to Alice, which in many ways the lost souls are. That original rendition was an inoffensive lament. Then along came the Gompie parody with the famous refrain, Alice, Alice, who the f*** is Alice?; an apposite question, the answer to which would traditionally be ‘God’, although the idea of ‘big sister is watching’ is often conjured up in this production. Of the two versions of the song this Everyman is certainly in the style of the latter, with expletives in abundance that carry no meaning and lack dramatic impact. Line after line of f*** and c*** is no substitute for well-crafted sentences and insightful dialogue.
There are regular updates from Alice concerning events in the world and reminders of the plights of the three sinners paying the price for their evil deeds. Bryan Carvalho, Grace Garland and Shaquille Yusuf Play the ensemble with great sincerity and earnestness, trying to inject something profound into the insubstantial script. Each has committed a grave sin and these are illustrated in grainy black and white footage projected onto the curtains. It is one of several worthy points and clever devices in this multi-media production. The lighting is evocative, with pervading darkness brightly illuminated by haunting greens and intense red used in an extended movement sequence of torment. Individually, many things are impressive, not least the choice of music. The opening tableau is powerful, with the three characters bound together by exceptionally thick rope on their inescapable journey. That same rope proves to be a versatile prop ingeniously used in several scenes.
This debut play is directed by Ivan Loboda and Bill Messer who clearly have ideas for creating an impressive performance. What the company needs is a worthy vehicle for their energy and creativity and this Everyman falls short. What they have is a downward spiral of good intentions.