HOME – Manchester
Come Closer was performed as part of PUSH Festival at HOME and created by Gareth Cutter. It starts with an innocuous encounter between two men in New York: one a famous photographer, the other a nameless drifter. But when their “street photography” interview takes an unexpectedly up-close-and-personal turn, things begin to unravel, plunging the audience into a maze of hospital corridors and underground clubs where truth and fiction meld, and pleasure is never far away.
Come Closer utilised a mixture of interesting techniques to create a dreamlike and surreal theatrical experience. It was visually striking, from a pair of red rubber gloves that made a loud smacking noise, the continuous use of a voice distorter and the performer consistently shrouded in semi darkness – sometimes with his back to the audience. This all made for an intriguing and unsettling atmosphere. In particular, the use of voice distortion throughout the play was interesting. It made the mood of the piece hard to read at times, which I actually quite liked. It also ensured for a level of removal from the action of the piece that meant that even when the play was funny, it was also unsettling.
However, the storytelling and narrative threads of Come Closer never quite came together as well as I wanted them to. The shifts in tone and specificity of the encounter of New York against the personal stories that were interweaved throughout the play felt a bit lacking in conclusion and meaning. Some scenes played a little too long, or the actor broke character and laughed with the audience – creating a mixture of moods that felt inconsistent at times. That’s not to say that there’s not plenty of potential here. At times, Come Closer was intimate, engaging and funny – but this would quickly change and become something that I think was trying to be unsettling but instead felt slightly confusing.
Come Closer was an intriguing concoction of ingredients that didn’t quite come together to hit the mark – however, I’d be interested in seeing how it develops in the future.
© M. Holland 2019
This performance has now closed.
Photo: Michele Selway