That was my year of theatre-going 2015: Favourite curtain call moments
That was my year of theatre-going 2015: Favourite fringe plays

Review: Andrew Scott and David Dawson's performances bedazzle in The Dazzle, Found 111

320x320.fitandcropThere are 71 steps up to the performance space in the former St Martin's School of Art on Charing Cross Road. The hubbub of students long since silenced, you climb a narrow staircase that winds around an inactive, caged, lift shaft leading you up and up until you are in room that feels like an attic.

The stage is small and cluttered, surrounded by a jumble of mismatched chairs and so appropriate for Richard Greenberg's New York-set play about two eccentric, hoarding brothers. You sit so close you feel like you've been 'collected' by them.

It is inspired by the story of two real brothers whose decomposing bodies were found in 1947 in their junk-crammed home. Andrew Scott plays Langley the skilled and pedantic musician who's artistic temperament is strangling his career and the brothers' source of income. David Dawson is Homer a 'retired' accountant tasked with looking after Langley by their mother and no less eccentric.

Into their world steps Millie (Joanna Vanderham) a rich woman who is trying to escape her family. Her 'ordinariness', as Langley sees it, is incongruous to the brothers' lack of it but she is also a character of contradictions, a potential saviour and potential victim. 

Langley, Homer and Millie are like beautiful music that is slightly out of tempo. In the brothers' there is an energy and spark that doesn't quite match and an outlook that seems both reasonable and illogical. Langley is the king of minutiae to an almost autistic level. It is a running joke that he can always hear the tiniest fault in music, can spend hours - a day even - just examining one small object and he has to tell you about it in exactly the way he sees it. Scott brilliantly works the pauses and the behavioural ticks - it is classic Scott - but he surpassed by Dawson's Homer who can be sardonic and soulful in the same moment. Dawson brilliantly and surprisingly out-Scotts Scott. It makes for pair of performances that aren't quite what you were expecting, a little out of tempo like their characters' lives.

The Dazzle is a life less ordinary laid bare with humour, tragedy and bite. A keenly imagined insight into the world of two brothers that is funny and poignant and you can catch it until January 30 at Found 111 on Charing Cross Road. It is two hours and 25 minutes without and interval and is unallocated seating.


Of course Mr W and Mr Scott have worked together both on stage in Cock and in Spectre and The Hour.