REVIEW: STRANGE THE ROAD (Hope Theatre) ★★

A sin city tale of gangsters, honour and love is presented in ‘Strange the Road’ playing at the Hope Theatre. The story revolves around ‘Frenchie’ (Joey Ellis) as he infatuates over a woman he can never have. ‘Verda’ (Andromeda Godfrey) a detached street wise waitress with a smart mouth begins a dangerous turn of events after getting involved with the volatile gangster ‘Malloy’ (Patrick Koupland) and his henchmen.

Presented in a 1930’s cinematic style, the play toys with different genres from film noir to silent slapstick, with brash lighting creating an atmospheric and sexy shading to the entire piece reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs’.

Joey Ellis mumbled through most of the script with an accent somewhere between New Jersey and Clapham Common. Koupland played the predatory ‘Malloy’ with a grotesque rage and strength, whilst Rikki Chamberlain orchestrated brilliant comic timing and wit as the burly ‘Hughie’. Without these two, the show may have been unwatchable!

Although it looked beautiful, the plot seemed to take a back seat, with the script slowing the action.
Overall this polished and stylish play presents a story that feels reminiscent to the classic mobster movies of our time. Unfortunately it’s all style and no substance with no real dramatic destination. This makes for a deflated and unfulfilling evening, with far more anticipation of action than the show manages to achieve.

Reviewed by Jimmy Richards

STRANGE THE ROAD plays at The Hope Theatre until 18 February 2017