Rock and Hunt

Sat 5th – Sat 19th August 2017


Dan Mahoney

at 11:21 on 15th Aug 2017



‘Rock & Hunt’ makes an impression from the moment you walk into the theatre. As you enter the small room in the claustrophobic Vaults, the six members of the cast sit on the tiny stage, staring out at you arrestingly under harsh lighting. It’s a spartan and unsettling scene that sets the audience up for a barebones, but fascinating, show. Put simply, ‘Rock & Hunt’ is comprised of six unconnected monologues that spill over each other, with characters interrupting each other mid-sentence to continue their stories. The characters never move from the position they greet us in, remaining sat talking to us with no frills except a drink each for the entire show.

Despite having a title that suggests double-entendre laden bawdy comedy, the monologues comprise a wide, and occasionally jarring range of tones from: the tragic to the melancholic to the heartwarming. Thematically, the stories are loosely linked by a general theme of ageing and growing, but the various stories being told here are wholly separate affairs with a fair deal of tonal whiplash between them. This can lead to some real knock-out moments of emotional contrast and unexpected laughs, but occasionally the shifts can grate.

With nowhere to hide on stage, the show lives or dies by the performances of its cast, but thankfully ‘Rock & Hunt’ is blessed with a surfeit of acting talent. Students attempting to play older characters can sometimes feel like kids playing dress up in their parent’s clothes, but the cast fully occupy their characters who range in age from 14 to 78. Anoushka Kohli’s portrayal of a grieving mother in particular is a powerhouse of a performance, imbued with genuine pathos and emotional gut punches that create some of the performance’s best moments. Amy Chubb is another highlight, with a subtly physical performance selling her role as a widower coming to terms with the twilight of her life.

Most obviously comedic amongst the segments is that of ‘Luke’ (Edward Prendergast), a teenager boasting of his (fictional) sexual prowess - which is something of a mixed bag. There is some funny stuff here and Prendergast completely sells his Jay from The Inbetweeners-esque material, but his monologue lacks the emotional or narrative throughline that makes some of the other segments so effective. At times, it feels like the play is struggling to give him enough to do that isn’t reiterating the joke of ‘teenage boys bullshit about sex to seem cool’ and so his funny moments can get occasionally lost.

For the most part though, ‘Rock & Hunt’ manages to balance its combination of drama and comedy admirably, and the various monologues are structured and put together in such a way that the show never loses momentum for too long. The stories being told may not be the most original and the writing can occasionally veer into cliché, but the strength of the performances and their novel presentation combine to elevate the production into something special.


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