EFR - Reviews of Entropy

Entropy

Wed 1st – Mon 27th August 2018

reviews

Anna Marshall

at 09:08 on 7th Aug 2018

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‘Entropy’ is an exploration of the long term effects of child abuse manifested into disturbed adulthoods. The subject matter is dark and complex: you’d be forgiven for feeling as though you’d missed the first half. If you manage to stick with it, ‘Entropy’ is rewarding, but nevertheless feels tiresome as the play drags on and the one long, fundamentally unvarying scene loses interest.

There’s deliberate ambiguity as to what drives the tricky relationship between the only two characters. Sam could be a brother, an ex, or a ghost existing only within Barbara’s mind: what is clear is he is unwanted and threatening. He’s comfortable, she’s not. Or is it the other way around? The confusing dialogue between the two leaves much unspoken, and the power balance constantly shifts between the two. Lewis Bruniges as the moderately deranged Sam burns a deep impression from the moment the lights dim. Twitching, taunting, clapping and barking at Katherine, Bruniges puts a staggering amount of energy into his creation of a deeply disturbed young man. He is the “millstone” around the neck of Barbara, performed by Katharine Drury, whose pursed lips tremble as she struggles to maintain her power over Sam, and slowly resigns herself to adjusting to his level.

‘Entropy’ explores all the trappings left behind by child abuse, but subtly leaves much to the audience to uncover themselves. Understandably, this relies on a focus on dialogue, but the unchanging atmosphere left the audience restless as the play continued past the hour. Drury and Bruniges sustain fast-paced word-play for a long time, injecting some moments of humour and warmth into this melancholy piece. With a script which unflinchingly begs “What do I want? Explanations. Apology. My childhood”, ultimately, it was the lack of variation which left the audience dissatisfied, despite a stellar performance by Drury and Bruniges in an attempt to rejuvenate the writing.

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Amy Barrett

at 09:17 on 7th Aug 2018

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Jennifer Roslyn Wingate’s ‘Entropy’ isn’t the style of show I typically see at The Fringe. Dripping in black comedy, I can’t truthfully say it was my cup of tea, however I can say that the performances of both Katharine Drury (Barbara) and Lewis Bruniges (Sam) were striking.

Summarising the plot is difficult. With the term entropy meaning a lack of stability or unpredictability, it became clear that I was not in for a show with a distinct beginning and end, or even middle for that matter. The story follows the life of nineteen-year-old Sam who turns up, unannounced at the door of Barbara. Initially, I thought Sam was Barbara’s ex – she looks and acts the same age as Sam. But it turns out that in the past she played a maternal role to him, and now Sam is adamant to have his childhood back. An unquestionably dark and uncomfortable experience, ‘Entropy’ succeeds in taking the audience to a disturbing, emotionally charged place without ever stating exactly what happened between the pair.

Bruniges performance was the show’s highlight: his effortless transitions between flashbacks of his childhood and the brooding, manipulative present Sam became the foundations of ‘Entropy’s’ success. Moreover, he was not afraid of slowing down the pace of his speech and incorporating long awkward pauses into the performance. Throughout my entire time at The Fringe, rushed dialogue has been an issue in every performance I have seen. But Bruniges confidently providing exaggerated silences that allowed the audience to become part of the awkward atmosphere occurring between Sam and Barbara.

The technical team must also be commended for their flawless input within the production. The timing between actors picking up the phone and the ringing sound effect being heard could not be faulted and the lighting techniques used to create the image of car headlights before the stage looked excellent. Furthermore, the sound team did a good job of keeping the audience focused on the acting, using effects such as the sound of the sea to set the scene, before fading it out to ensure the audience’s attention was kept on the high drama.

Whilst ‘Entropy’ is a show I would never have chosen to see, and probably isn’t a style of show I would ever see again, I can find no criticism on the production – only my taste in theatre.

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