This review was originally written for EdFringeReview.com
At times engagingly thought-provoking, yet at times frustratingly lacking in profundity, The Result of a Man and His Ponderings is a moderately moving portrait of a man entirely cut-off from society. It features delectable physicality and laudably slick dialogue, the intellectual shallowness of which proves the play’s only major drawback.
The play is almost entirely set in the meticulously arranged living room of Finlay (James Last), an isolated ‘creep’ who only ventures from his house on a Tuesday morning in order to read obscure volumes at the public library, and whose only social interaction is with three items of his furniture: a set of curtains (Lukas Jones), a door (Jenny Stephenson) and a section of wall (Ollie Cooper). The bizarre foursome’s obsessively ordered life is disrupted when they discover a cup of tea that none of them remember making, learn of a mysterious woman (Amy Woods) lurking in the kitchen and are confronted with a forthright detective (Abbii Sutcliffe) that asks some particularly uncomfortable questions of them.
Disruption, and the mixing of polar opposites, is a key theme throughout. Inside and outside; order and chaos; sanity and insanity; even life and death – all are confused, even conflated at times, as Finlay and his furniture struggle to cope with their ordeal. Their emotions leapfrog from relaxation to panic, from sadness to shock, and from amusement to anger as their world collapses around them, at times in notably entertaining fashion.
Aesthetically, The Result of a Man and His Ponderings is particularly pleasing. The synchronism between Jones, Stephenson and Cooper is particularly laudable for its slickness; it maintains the audience’s attention when the script’s more abstract wanderings fail.
On the whole, director Carys Tevener has orchestrated a performance that emanates fluency. Although during the play’s opening character interaction is somewhat clunky, as the plot develops the effort put in by both cast and director becomes observable. Dialogue is, for the majority, quick and sharp, and all do well to deliver it at a consistently high tempo.
For all the dialogue’s verve and verbosity, it fails to reach any kind of tangible profundity, and this is ultimately the play’s largest drawback. One distinctly feels that too much quasi-philosophical discourse has been crammed in to a play less than an hour long, and this regrettably results in a distinct lack of depth.