The Pitchfork Disney @ Shoreditch Town Hall
Cast Includes George Blagden, Tom Rhys Harries, Hayley Squires and Seun Shote
Running Time: 90 mins, no interval
The Pitchfork Disney is one of the major plays produced in the Nineties – seen as one of the first plays of the “In-Yer-Face” theatre movement, it holds an important place in the history of British theatre. This is why Shoreditch Town Hall has teamed this revival with the premiere of Ridley’s new play Killer, and hired one of the most influential directors of the moment, Jamie Lloyd.
The pairing of Lloyd directing and Ridley’s play is a stroke of genius – looking at some of his most recent pieces including his productions of Pinter’s The Homecoming and Genet’s The Maids, you can see his clear understanding of the use of pauses and tension – this production of Pitchfork is tense and taut, and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
Couple Lloyd’s direction with the immersive production in the basement space of Shoreditch Town Hall and you get a production that is not only highly entertaining but also thought-provoking and troubling, which questions how much of what is been presented is the truth and how much we should believe. The notion of memory is also highlighted, due to the absence of Presley and Haley’s parents, and this is something that is not clearly resolved, and is unsettling.
The cast of the piece are fantastic – Tom Rhys Harries as the charismatic Cosmo Disney excels, and he is electrifying when the piece takes a sinister twist towards the second half of the piece. Hayley Squires is also brilliant as Haley, a part that can get forgotten in some adaptations after the first 30 minutes due to her drug induced sleep.
The use of the theatrical space is also especially fitting for the production – not only is the location of the venue the area in which the play is set it utilises a non-traditional layout, drawing the audience into the action. Whilst at times certain seats would have restricted views of the action, on the whole, this has been successfully done – it allows the idea of Haley and Presley’s worst nightmare getting deeper into their closed off world to take a physical form as an emotional and psychological one, with Cosmo coming further into the space and their lives.
Summary: A thrilling revival of Ridley’s first major theatrical work in an immersive and tightly directed production. ****