St. Nicholas is the third instalment of the Insomnia season at The Other Room and sees the return of Christian Patterson, taking on the challenge of this monologue, with Titas Halder directing the piece.
In ‘Blasted‘ Christian Patterson’s talent was clear but the subject matter prevented any hint of endearment. The moment St. Nicholas began an ease was created. A melodic pace to the tale which was spun, there was every strength in a performance which saw ‘A man’ welcome us in, with a need to impress an audience and remain at a distance- regaling his life as a theatre critic.
The simplicity of Amy Jane Cook’s set design allowed an imposing character to be created. As the wonderfully layered story unfolded, this incredible script saw humour to ensure disdain what not overpowering, because the story of this man was reminiscent of the seven deadly sins and there could be every reason to take a dislike. But the persona on the stage is engaging, endearing through laughter, and the eye contact completes the story-telling, creating a feeling that this really is the first time the story has been told.
And as the man’s story unfolds, with all the fixtures and fittings of life, and yet seemingly with a self-destruct button as it becomes apparent there is little happiness in it all.
With Helen, there is hope.
And as the reality of his life becomes clear, so an alternative choice seems somewhat convincing.
The second half of the play sees the set enhanced through Katy Morison’s lighting design. A new lifestyle unfolds, of doing William’s doing, the hunt for fresh meat. The story continues to hold, but now the tale becomes one of philosophy, people are flawed.
All elements of this production have an amazing chemistry, under the direction of Titas Halder a simple tale is woven. Through Christian Patterson a complex character fills the stage with conviction and complexity, whilst maintaining the ease of a talented storyteller. Set, sound and lighting come together with intelligence to underline the simplicity; to let the script do its work.
St. Nicholas is at The Other Room, Cardiff from the 1st – 11th March with tickets available via their website.
Disclosure: I was invited to the performance for the purpose of this review. All opinions and views contained are my own. Photo credit: Aenne Pallasca.