ALL AND Sundry’s The Man Who Liked Order, directed by Vanessa Morgan, was a great piece of psychological theatre.
The main character Bradshaw already being on the stage on his own as the audience filed in had the crowd intrigued as to what was going to happen from the off.
When the action started that inquisitiveness continued as you watched the very measured character go about his daily routine.
Sarah, who entered and announced she lived in the same block and had been sent by the residents’ association, provides a brilliant foil for Bradshaw and the key for unlocking him and the plot.
She is almost the personification of the audience. As she finds out more about Bradshaw and what is in his head we do too.
A nice twist at the interval sets up the second act and more twists and turns follow in the second half, bringing about a dramatic conclusion.
Robert Denham did well as the policeman, as did Janine Parkes as cleaner Mrs P, each playing their part in this enjoyable and, where it needed to be, cringe-worthy production.
Ruth Messenger was superb as Sarah, enabling the audience to empathise with the character in a joint motivation to find out more about the curious Bradshaw.
And Roy Watton was superb as Bradshaw and stole the show. His portrayal enticed you in and made you want to get inside the character’s head. He had clearly gone over and over the script and each and every line was perfectly delivered.
The chemistry between these two characters made the show and, in their hands, the wonderfully written script by Mike Richardson had a scintillating rhythm to it in that perfectly moved the plot along.
The stage and venue for the performances are also well worth a mention. Using a minimalist set and props and small venue intensified the action and placed the emphasis where it should be – on the characters. During some scenes the players were almost on the front row of the audience which increased the dramatic tension and made you feel uneasy at times.
Another impressive aspect about this show was the observations of human behaviour and day to day life which, as well as interest, also provided some much-needed smatterings of comedy to lighten the darkness of the piece.
If you are thinking of putting your diary in order, make sure you pencil in a date with this show.
The remaining performances are at Artrix tomorrow (Saturday) at 7.45pm and at The Palace Theatre’s Upstairs Room next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, September 21, 22 and 23.
For tickets call 01527 65203 for the Palace Theatre or 01527 577330 for Artrix.
Alternatively, visit www.artrix.co.uk or www.redditchpalacetheatre.co.uk for more or tickets.