The Planktonic Players have brought a little of 1980’s Bronx to The Camden Fringe Festival. The wonderful set design starts as you walk up the stairs in The Camden Eye pub; original graffiti adorns the walls in-between classic 80’s record covers and posters. An authentic looking Bronx bar, complete with sleeping patron and a bored barman, is the setting of the players staging of John Patrick Shanley’s 1984 play ‘Savage in Limbo’.
A strong central performance from Grace Kennedy as Denise Savage leads the cast; quick witted, formidable and funny, Kennedy’s Savage is the first patron to enter the bar and has a hand in all proceedings from there in. Kennedy creates the perfect partnership with Gabrielle Curtis’ Linda Rotunda, if that is what you can call it! They snip, snide and full on argue with each other through out the evening, Curtis perfectly swinging her hips strutting across the space as Rotunda. Kennedy’s finish as Savage at the end of the performance stole the show, and really showed that the best talent of The Fringe is currently upstairs in The Camden Eye.
Melissa Palleschi gets away with all the nights best laughs as April White and really shows not just the character’s comic side, but also reveals her emotional depth. Oliver Hewett plays off Palleschi and the rest of the cast well. His constant deadpan interruption that the bars patrons must always have a drink on the go became almost rhythmic, and always funny. Robert Bellissimo nicely portrays Tony Aronica, the source of much arguing between Rotunda and Savage. Bellissimo plays up to the characters macho image whilst still revealing what Aronica holds underneath.
Michael Pratt’s direction is naturalistic and un-obtrusive, opting to let his cast move freely around the space of the bar, creating a believable setting. The slight pauses, moments of silence and loaded stares between the performers all go towards creating a naturalistic and fast paced environment.
John Patrick Shanley’s writing is smart and funny, and you can tell the performers and director hold a huge admiration for their source text. The Planktonic Players staging of ‘Savage in Limbo’ is funny and moving, and will be a highlight of The Camden Fringe Festival. I cannot recommend enough heading down to The Camden Eye before the 26th August for the chance to see the best in fresh, immersive theatre.
Savage in Limbo is playing at The Camden Eye until August 26th, for more information head to www.camdenfringe.com