Katzpace Studio Theatre
Reviewed – 19th August 2018
“The overall concept is wonderfully imaginative and certainly has the potential to be great, but right now feels like it is a couple of steps behind achieving this”
A lot can happen in one night. However, I don’t think any of us can say we have ever had one as eventful as the two protagonists in new play Serve Cold experience. Set in the bleak shadows of the early hours, this dark Scottish comedy, reveals the unthinkable that can go on behind closed doors.
One night. Two women. The bank of Glasgow’s River Clyde. A chance meeting. Or so it seems… Grace (Anna Marie Burslem), a prostitute with a heart of gold, thinks she’s found an unlikely kindred spirit in Joy (Paula Gilmour), but as the night unfolds, there is more to her new middle-class friend that meets the eye. As both women’s worlds collide they endeavour to help the other out of their difficult, or at times, bizarre, situations, testing just how far they will go to achieve the revenge they so desire to finally feel free.
The dark comic dialogue created by Mark MacNicol certainly gives a nod to the style of work Martin McDonagh has cultivated over the years for stage and screen, similarly capturing the hilarity of twisted scenarios and finding humour in the murkier elements of human behaviour. MacNicol certainly has some disturbingly funny one-liners. As far-fetched and exaggerated as the black-comedy genre can be, Serve Cold still lacks moments of needed believability, which makes the performance less credible (for example, the way in which Grace has immediate trust in Joy). With the play coming in at under an hour, certain scenes feel rushed and not given enough time for character motivations or plot lines to be fleshed out further.
Burslem and Gilmour as Grace and Joy offer sufficiently solid performances, proving an instinctive sense of comic timing, but likewise to the script, there is definite room for finessing their roles. Finding some nuanced qualities in order to present more complex, multifaceted characters.
It is definitely refreshing to see an all-female cast dealing with such darkly humorous, perverse material – a genre that usually is dominated by male characters. The overall concept of Serve Cold is wonderfully imaginative and certainly has the potential to be great, but right now feels like it is a couple of steps behind achieving this. A promising attempt at exploring the dark depths humanity can sink to in desperation.
Reviewed by Phoebe Cole
Katzpace Studio Theatre