Loaded – The Brockley Jack
This fast paced, fiery production takes place in Pete’s (played by Andrew Murton) mechanics garage up north in Sheffield. Along with colleagues Mick (Nick Rogers) and Hudd (Christopher Ward) the lads-chat is thrown around with talk of money, ripping off customers and the troublesome Carol (Gemma Paget). They’re planning a robbery but they need Pete’s help for some weapons -he may be the boss man but is he really the big man?
The play is concise (only 70 minutes) and Mick and Hudd’s opening fast paced dialogue quickly creates a manic tension for what turns out to be an explosive ending. There are some lighter moments with great humour from the 2 guys, particularly a drawn out conversation on the best route to Manchester in either a getaway car/van. They have great chemistry on stage which really draws you into their characters and makes them a real comedy duo.
Pete’s a control freak and wants to control his relationship with Carol, she dangles him on a string and pushes him to his limits of violence and abuse. Paget dominates the stage as the feisty drink dependant woman about town and you feel a sense of pity for her and the self destruction that’s got her into this mess.
The cast is strong here however by the end you do feel there’s something missing, something unfinished and leave wondering what happened. The robbery failed, Carol’s left and the three are sat ready for another day of gear boxes and carburetors only feeling slightly bitter and resentful.
The set was incredible for a fringe production, the level of detail that went into the garage was brilliantly executed and you were transported from a studio above a pub to a small West End stage. During the scene changes you hear clips of Northern Soul, while the actors continue to walk around and move on stage, and you’re brought back in with a snap of light that are sharply done and allow for moments of internal monologue.
I would definitely recommend a trip South East to see this funny, dark production that really demonstrates how well Fringe can be done.
Reviewed by Rebecca Usher