Luke Barnes can write. Extremely well.
His delightfully accurate analogies immersed with crucial and unapologetic scouse 'language' are spot on in his one man show, Bottleneck at The Hope Street Theatre.
His tale of 14 year old Greg whose life changes on that day in 1989, is told with aplomb and the utmost of teenage importance by the tenacious Daniel Cassidy; and hats off to him. One man/woman/dog shows can evoke a million varying opinions and mine is that I have nothing but respect for solo story-telling. It requires nerve and great ability. Character definitions rely on well defined voices, sharp physicality and an established unspoken agreement with the audience that we are in this together yeah? Cassidy does not fail to deliver all of these under the direction of Chantell Walker.
There are however, moments where flow is lost and I can't help thinking his instinct would have served better than some of the assigned choreography. His moments of repose are the most powerful. Barnes' words are also enough. More than enough.
Fluidity is also occasionally absent with some untactful technical elements. Difficult to say if these lay in the design or teething problems, but would be remiss not to mention.
It is important what is happening here. That this beautiful new space, Hope Street Theatre is now available and that stories as important as this are being staged here. One in particular that will always need telling. Thank you Hope Street, we have been waiting for you. And thank you Luke Barnes.
You responded in an interview with Hampstead Theatre that playwrights must 'earn the right to tell stories'. You certainly have.
Reviewer - Gillian Hardie.
on - 18/7/18