Theatre Review: The Gift Of Lightning

True life drama about a man hit by lightning fails to spark.

Enjoying a brief run at the Waterloo East Theatre is The Gift of Lightning,a short play by David Gilna, a young Irish actor and writer.

David has created this short piece as a vehicle for his responses to a life-changing event which befell him last year. Whilst working in Boston, he was struck by lightning and sent into a coma - his future was highly uncertain, his prospects grim.

But after five days he came round and began a remarkable recovery. For much of his confinement however he had been vaguely half-aware of his surroundings, “locked-in” and functioning at the edge of consciousness.

In a staged series of encounters with visitors to his hospital bed, the playwright charts his own growing understanding of his place in the scheme of things, his friends’ one-way outpourings to his stricken self containing surprises and shocks.


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The Gift of Lightning does what it says on the tin - we learn that the writer’s epiphany produces a new awareness of what it means to be alive.

For all that, the writing is cliched, the insights quotidian and dramatic momentum largely absent. The minimalist staging cannot lift the material beyond the static, despite the efforts of the cast of four.

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* Showing at Waterloo East Theatre in Brad Street, SE1, until Sunday, July 31.

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