Monday, March 31, 2008

Great days aren't just about rainbows!

I walked up the stairs tired and with sore legs, but also with a multistory car park sized feeling of pride. What have I got to be so prideful about? Kev's done it! He's only gone and nailed it. I never knew this type of pride existed, after all I've had little to do with this one. Ahh, but then I know the bloke. And with the bit between his teeth I knew what the outcome should be. I am proud of him.

"In my Name" by Steven Hevey a two act play opened at The Old Red Lion Islington last Tuesday evening. The reviews are great, the performances are great, the set design is great and the play is great.

"Wow..It has our name to it. And I think it's one of those moments in life where you can see doors opening up in front of you. My partner, ladies and gentlemen. Mr Kevin Watt. He doesn't just open doors he kicks the buggers down and makes a really loud noise. And...he doesn't flinch."

Those of you that were there on Sunday in the rapt capacity crowd will realise I speak literally as well metaphorically when I discuss Kevin's door breaking antics. It was in this following moment that the whole afternoon came together like shavings to a magnet.

The moment I speak of: Kevin grabs the door frame and begins doing pull ups when (as though a timed and rehearsed moment) he wrenched the frame from the wall and landed smack bang on his knees.

The audience braced with a grimace. We each held a shared breath as we expected a burst of noise and pain from Kevin's chops. The moment seemed to last for an age. Nothing came. He looked as though nothing had happened. No flutter of the eye lids, no tweak in the corner of the mouth, nothing. He looked as his character would have done, lost in his own world. There were darker things going on here. Christ...then it all came flooding back.

Of course I'm biased. Kevin is my friend, he is also someone I respect on many different levels. Well he's found a new one.

I remember a night out in a casino back last July where me and Steve (Writer) and Kevin sat and discussed all these goings on. Listening to Steve and Kevin chat there was no doubt in my mind that they would follow this through.

You could hear it in the way Steve spoke of the play, (or at the time a play in progress) that it was going to walk itself all the way to the finish line. Me and Steve sat eating the free sandwiches as Kev went of to play a game of chance roulette, and I knew that this would be a winner just by the way he spoke about Kevin, the project and the vision.

You see if Kevin had turned in a bad performance, I wouldn't have had to tell him. He would have already known. So I can't really be biased on that score. But Kevin put all those people together in one place at one time. He trusted the play, his instincts and those around him. That's a talent in itself.

I think what Steve has managed to do quite magnificently in this play is to capture the astonishment that young Londoners felt from that day July 7th 2005. A sense of something we can't fight. A sense of suspicion and fear that grows in all of us and takes us (if we let it) to a very disturbing place. I guess it's something that will always now be there.

As ever Georgia has designed a set to match. The hidden prints on the wall were just the right addition to the production, where, it would have been easy to over do it. Again though Georgia always comes up with the nuts.

The cast were uniformly brilliant. James Alexandrou (Eastenders) Ray Panthaki (28 days later) and Adeel Akhtar all turning in performances that helped remind me of that feeling. Almost as if someone is watching you. A kind of weird and unspoken fascination for the way things have transpired. If you get a chance to read Brian Keenan's book "An Evil Cradling" he describes these kind of sensory feelings as coming from his captors nearly at every turn. Again without drawing reference to them.

In short, Kevin put all that together. And whats more is he's selling out. The play, the named cast, the design, the sound, the direction and of course the venue all turned into yet another notch on the skunks belt.

Sitting in the audience watching a close friend go out to play with some other guys isn't easy. This was always Kev's project. But you can't help but feel a tinge of jealousy as he takes to the stage with great actors, oh, sorry Kev not just great actors but named great actors. Yet in that moment, bang!!!...The frame came away from the door, and I was there. July 7th 2005

So yes, as I walked to the top of Greenwich Park (and looked out at a small rainbow forming Blackheath way) I was proud. Proud of my partners ambition, skill and vision. Proud to be a part of an continuously amazing company.

I've got to say though..this one's all his. Well done mate.


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