Angela Unbound, Leicester Square Basement

The understated black set, bare save for an ornate sofa, provides a subdued backdrop to characters that are anything but in William Whitehurst’s misfiring farce, running as part of the London Festival Fringe.

Jonathan Hansler’s wild eyed, manic maverick author Daniel McBain is a maelstrom of unpredictability. From the moment he steps on stage in silk dressing gown and wielding a sink plunger, his aura of danger permeates the confines of the Leicester Square Basement.

As McBain’s counterfoil, French translator Charles Duprey, Peter Glover cuts a lonely, tragic figure, whose floundering hesitancies bring a much-needed sense of pathos.

Completing the cast, it is Ewa Jaworksi’s nymphomaniac muse Caroline who is the hardest to pin down. Jaworski is able to portray her myriad mood swings, turning from vulnerable to predatory on a sixpence.
But this character is supposed to be the fulcrum about which the whole play pivots, and yet it feels the least well written of the three. She feels defined more by McBain’s fictions, which may be intentional but comes to naught when there is nothing else for the audience to relate to.

In its short, single act form, Angela Unbound feels like a play that needs more space to explore themes with the effectiveness it desires. Whether we would want to spend any more time with these characters, though, is debatable.

Author: Scott Matthewman

Formerly Online Editor and Digital Project Manager for The Stage, creator of the award-winning The Gay Vote politics blog, now a full-time software developer specialising in Ruby, Objective-C and Swift, as well as a part-time critic for Musical Theatre Review, The Reviews Hub and others.