A theatrical marathon
The wonderful Ivan and the Dogs, Soho Theatre

Enlightenment, Hampstead Theatre

Enlightenment_main_2 Enlightenment's set brought out a bit of minimalism envy in me. It is stark white with clear chairs and table, the only colour provided by brightly covered books on the book shelf.

It reminded me of a cross between that sketch in Absolutely Fabulous when Edina and Patsy go to a uber-trendy minimalist house party and Edina doesn't know where to put the wine she has bought and the sort of house an architect would have designed in the 1980's.

Aside from focusing attention on the actors in the play, which is about a mother and step father coming to terms with the disappearance of their son Adam while travelling, it serves to emphasise the comfy, middle-class life they live in.

As opposed to? Well, as opposed to Indonesia where their cotton-wool wrapped son may or may not have been blown up by terrorists and as opposed to the as yet unknown life of the young man who turns up with amnesia and their son's stuff.

The first half builds an emotional bond with the mother Lia played with a degree of heart-tugging expertise by Julie Graham working the script to the max. She is a woman in limbo of not knowing, unable to grieve and move on, turning to spiritualists for answers.

Each scene is punctuated by a shot of darkness and a camera like flash and  shadowy images projected on the perfectly white back wall. It adds a photo story feel to the production.

The arrival of the amnesiac imposter in the second half changes the tone and direction to something a little more sinister. With nowhere to go, he moves into the minimalist house with Lia and Adam's step father Nick. It becomes increasingly obvious that someone is lying and someone maybe a little mentally unstable.

Although the two halves don't quite match in tone,  it gambols along at a nice pace and is ultimately engaging if not with an entirely satisfying ending.

Rev Stan rating three out of five

Enlightenment is on at the Hampstead Theatre until October 30


Coming soon, just needs a bit of further investigation