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The Dumb Man

by on 6 August 2022

Speak No Evil

The Dumb Man

by Jagoda Kamov

The Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone until 6th August

Review by Gill Martin

The Camden Fringe, which runs throughout August, has earned a reputation over the sixteen years it has been running as a London alternative to Edinburgh, offering fresh new theatre, edgy and experimental, at affordable prices.  This year two hundred productions are on the menu across the Borough of Camden and beyond.  The range is wide, from children’s shows, comedy and dance to magic, music, physical theatre and musicals – even opera.

We opted for The Dumb Man at the Cockpit Theatre, a sixty-minute play billed as a dark comedy.  Dark it certainly was.  Comedic?  The jury is still out.

The man character of Richard (Michael Molino) is angst-ridden and grief-stricken.  The balding widower in his comfy rocking chair and cosy cardie cannot come to terms with the death of his wife Anne (Lana Helena Hulenic).

Loss, pain and the denial of reality are meshed as Richard remains in a state of limbo.  Conflicting emotions are played out as two younger versions of himself (played by Sam Perry and Adam Trussell).

The bereaved Richard is convincing himself that his wife lives on.  Anne is sensitively portrayed in moods that swing from girlish delight to the misery of her impending death.

She is, as her husband, describes, his ‘gentle, fragile, graceful wife.’  He, however, is a tragic figure trapped in a fantasy world of denial and delusion.

With a simple set designed by Hardy Gru, the play, which is directed by Jagoda Karnov, its writer, suffered from a very sparse audience, just a couple of dozen souls willing to give up an hour of a sunny summer’s evening to sit in a dark space to watch a dark work.

The only light relief was a blood donor scene with shades of Tony Hancock’s TV classic from 1961.

Like Hancock, who delivers the immortal lines: ‘It may be just a smear to you mate, but that’s life and death to some poor wretch! 

Camden Fringe 2022

‘I don’t mind giving a reasonable amount, but a pint! That’s very nearly an armful!’ the young would-be donor faints.

The old widowed Richard returns to his rocking chair, his whisky and his delusions.

Gill Martin, August 2022

Photography by Takatusna Mukai

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