Two men are stranded out at sea, nursing starved stomachs and contemplating their potentially imminent deaths, by starvation, by sharks, even by each other. Richard Parker 2 (Ieuan Perkins) wolfs down his hidden stash of sardines, whilst Richard Parker 1 (Jake Boswall) pours out his fears of death. Imaginary shark fins are created in a bitter fight for the final sardine, as the pair start to consider who will be the first to go.
When Richard Parker and Richard Parker meet, thrown together on a ship, they realise that their encounter is far less coincidental than they had thought. A play about the intersection of fate and coincidence, ‘Richard Parker’ is brimming with sharp wit and a fresh, slick script.
It is a “very dark” play, according to the director, James Watt, who previously directed another very different Burton Taylor production, ‘Bouncers’. Amidst the wealth of comedy it is easy to forget that what we are laughing at is a play about cannibalism, a less than comfortable thought but integral to what makes the show so interesting.
A two hander, in which comic timing is crucial, the actors have really enjoyed working together on the piece. And their hard work certainly shows through. These are hard parts to tackle, but both actors undertake the challenge. With a strong rapport between the two that builds as the play goes on, the lines are delivered with a slick wit, and their portrayals of both characters look set to be particularly convincing.
This is only the second time the play has been performed. Following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a UK tour which won the play much critical acclaim, the Burton Taylor Studio will be the next home to this relatively new play. Excitingly, the playwright himself, Owen Thomas, will even be attending the Friday performance for a Q&A session – what more incentive could you need?
‘Richard Parker’ will be playing at the Burton Taylor Studio, 7:30 Tuesday 27th January – Saturday 31st January