The science of previewing is no more a science than augury. Especially if, like Gabe Day, the play has profited from two rehearsals only. A wrinkled, newborn baby is dangled before the soothsayer; prophetic words must be proclaimed.
Gabe Day, the brainchild of Rory Platt from Trinity, is thankfully not still-born but very much alive and kicking. Platt has written a brisk sitcom, set in a crumbling student club called HALO’S. Its young owners, Charlie and Kate, plan to boost their clientele by hosting a bizarre celebration of the coming of the archangel Gabriel (‘Gabe’) and the subsequent apocalypse foretold by a U.S. televangelist.
As Charlie, George Ferguson gives an admirable pastiche of Mark Corrigan from Peep Show: he exudes the heady odour of Euroscepticism and Radio 4; nervous, pessimistic and pathetic, he rants limply like a hissing balloon. His associate Kate is the sober counterpart, who is played with apt, nail-filing ennui by Sara Ahmed. The vocal dexterity prize goes to Michael Roderick who exploits every pitch and odd effect his larynx can muster to portray a DJ bemused by drugs; and the imperturbability prize to Nick Fanthorpe, who seems to have reached the heights of an arhat in transcending all worldly emotions. He will raise an eyebrow if he is especially distressed.
After a summer long of preparation, Gabe Day will not look the cheerful infant it is now when it heads to the Edinburgh Fringe in August; for better or for worse, I cannot say for sure, but the auspices are good enough.
PHOTO / Gabe Day