8 April 2014

Hidden at The Cockpit

I had a rare free evening in London so I decided to go to the theatre.

Actually, going to the theatre was the easy decision to make, the hard one was deciding which one. This was made a little harder by my accidental discovery of Theatro Technis in Camden, while on my lunchtime walk, which was doing a Havel play. I also had the option of going to the Arcola but in the end I stuck with Plan A and went to The Cockpit in Marylebone.

I knew The Cockpit from their Theatre in the Pound nights but this was the first time that I had been there for a full performance.

The attraction was the dark comedy Hidden. I like dark comedies.

But first I had to get there. I avoided my usual getting-lost-from-the-tube-station routine by walking there from near Oxford Circus. That proved to be remarkably easy and took me along unfamiliar roads like Wigmore Street, Seymour Street, Seymour Place and Lisson Grove.

I got there too late to have a curry in the restaurant across the road but in plenty of time for a bottle of Budvar and a packet of dry roasted peanuts. It was fairy busy but careful positioning by the entrance to the theatre got me my preferred seat in the front row next to the central aisle.

The theatre was a little cropped from how I was used to it. The stage had been brought forward which meant that almost all of the seating was in the front section with very little at either side. The seats that were in use were almost all taken.

The play started with a surprising voice from the back row of the seats. This was Colin explaining that sometimes when he was in the theatre he was tempted to run on to the stage and drop his trousers, which he then did.

Colin was the first of six characters that we met, three men and three women played by two actors,Peter Carruthers and Laura Lindsay. Their stories were told mostly through a series of short monologues though there were some scenes with both of them.

As they told us about themselves and what they were doing we discovered connections between them, some slight and some significant. For example the check-out girl served one of the men and then went on a date with another.

The scenes gave us interesting perspectives on seemingly small things in life. Such as James' furtive encounters on a morning train that amounted to no more than touching each other's legs which may have meant nothing to the woman but which came to matter so much to him. At the end of that scene we learnt that he was married to one of the female characters and another connection was made.

The scenes also came together to show how these six lives were linked and how each of the characters had aspects of their lives that they kept hidden.

There were some genuinely funny moments and some quietly disturbing ones too and the combination made a compulsive story and good entertainment. I made the right choice in going to see it.

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