Theatre review: The Possibilities at the Tristan Bates Theatre

Ten short stories give edge-of-your-seat action on the limits of human oppression

The Possibilities is a fascinating play set in the past, present and future, which shows just what people will do when their back is against the wall.

Each of the poignant 10 short stories sting the audience into fear, shock and laughter with a plethora of “edge of your seat” emotions.

The directing is graceful and each scene sweeps across the stage from one to the other, as the audience is courteously served with placard-like titles at the beginning of each story.

Of course, this would all be pointless without some pretty good acting, and the play delivers that in droves.

But one shadow cast on this show by Howard Barker was that certain shining performers such as Helen Meadmore (who plays a prostitute) were not main players in every single scene. Amongst other favourite performers were recent Drama Studio graduate Rafid Golby, who excelled in the role of the peasant in Reasons for the Fall of Emperors.

In another scene, Golby sends ice cold fear into the audience in the sinister role of a hooded assassin, who visits a guest house owned by a man and his deaf and dumb wife, played by Robert Sladden and Nina Moniri respectively.

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Not all the stories hit home their messages that clearly – perhaps more stage time would have done the trick. And it is perhaps this disparity that makes some scenes more thought provoking than others.

It is nonetheless a stunning production and will leave many thinking long after the curtain falls.

* The Possibilities was performed at the Tristan Bates Theatre, in Tower Street, WC2, in November.