Theatre Review: Silence at Hampstead Theatre

Technical wizardry is used to dazzling effect in the battle between noise and quiet in Silence at the Hampstead Theatre

Kate suffers from ringing ears. As a result, she has filled her life with noise - music, clubs, talking.

And as Kate’s story unfolds, the noise of her life, including the tinnitus, invades our own ears in Filter and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s full-throttle soundscape ironically titled Silence.

Indeed, the only relief we get from Kate’s high-sensory world is when we meet her documentary maker husband Michael, who is very much reliant on his sound guy to find the story in moments of quiet.

The cast and crew take us on a journey between Berlin, London and Moscow, evoking time and place with a dizzying array of technical features produced on a pared-down set.

The cast is superb, notably the under-used Jonjo O’Neill as the utterly charming sound guy Peter, and the technical aspects dazzling, but the production is let down by a storyline that does not live up to its early promise.

As can be the case with devised productions, satisfactory character development and plausible storyline are sacrificed by the need to jam in as many creative ideas as possible.

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But Silence is an interesting piece of technical wizardry, but unfortunately if you’re a fan of substance over style this may not be the play for you.