Jethro Compton's Frontier Trilogy: The Clock Strikes Noon

Brought to the fringe by multi-talented Jethro Compton, The Clock Strikes Noon (along with the rest of the Frontier trilogy) is not to be missed. In this second instalment we find ourselves immediately thrown into the action. As the American Pacific Railroad continues its expansion through the west, the threat to local landowners heightens; they fear that they will lose all that they possess. We meet the two leads, a skittish sheriff and a level headed farmer, as they find themselves cornered in a chapel with a blind priest. Tensions are high and death is on the cards; completely surrounded by the enemy, a decision must be made. 

Stands in its own league as a strong piece of original writing.

The play is extremely stylised and incorporates filmic elements that draws realistic parallels with that of any western movie. The opening standoff draws immediate attention to this and I found myself anticipating the first gun shot, fingers in ears and my stomach churning. The continuous use of soundtrack that incorporates harmonica and fiddle like sounds, particularly aids Compton’s choice of genre, as well as serving as a perfect device for transition. Everything unfolds in this one room, and the storyline is strong enough to carry its audience straight to the end; there is nothing predictable and it stands in its own league as a strong piece of original writing. 

I can't fault the two lead actors either. Jonathan Matthews and Sam Donnelly completely carry the performance and show extreme talent. Matthews is incredibly watchable, so much so that even in moments of silence I found myself compelled to watch him and follow his reactions. Matthews calibre is matched by Donnelly, whose characterisation is flawless - his development throughout is progressively made and skilfully subtle. Chris Huntly-Turner provides strong support as the blind priest, effortlessly encouraging sympathy from his audience. Bebe Sanders, as the manipulative upper class stereotype, though the play is weaker in places when she drops her accent or fails to react.

I would recommend getting down to C Nova to see one of the trilogies, simply catch a glimpse of Matthews and Donnelly. There aren't a lot of seats, so I'd suggest booking in advance and would strongly do so, because this is certainly worth it.

Reviews by Lucy Skinner

Underbelly, Cowgate

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The Blurb

Trapped, guns near empty, the clock is ticking. Walker must make the choice: to do what's easy, or to do what's right. The railroad shines like a beacon of the modern age; for the people of Cooper's Ridge, it brings only darkness. Part of The Frontier Trilogy, the immersive experience from Jethro Compton, producer and director of the internationally-acclaimed, multi award-winning Bunker Trilogy. Journey into the Wild West in this triptych inspired by Biblical legend from the writer of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. 'Wonderful' (Stephen Fry). ***** (ThreeWeeks). ****(Telegraph).