Bond could never be accused of being a jolly playwright, but this 1993
television script must be among his very glummest, not tragic or angry,
but just depressed and depressing.
can think of no
use of the word 'enjoy' that could apply to this play, though students
and fans of Bond may well want to see this first UK stage production,
part of a two-month Bond season at the ambitious Cock Tavern Theatre.
man grieving for
his dead wife and alienated from his daughter impulsively commits a
crime that sends him to prison for ten years. (Though it doesn't come
up, the circumstances are such that a halfway decent lawyer could have
got him off on a lesser charge, though that implicit irony may be part
of Bond's dark vision.) Prison is a grindingly soul-destroying
experience punctuated only by a failed suicide attempt and the
successful suicide of another inmate.
released, he is unable to adjust to the version of normality offered
him, and is drawn to the mother of the suicidal prisoner, who shares
his dark fatalism. But a vengeful and insane cop is determined to send
him back to jail, even if he has to victimise someone else in the
omitted a couple of characters, but everyone in the play is miserable,
and miserable in ways that they and the playwright can see no way out
says the script was written 'as a response to the end of the cold war
and what the author perceives as the failure of socialism', but there
is nothing so simple as blaming the system here, or offering (or
bemoaning the lack of) an alternative.
holding the little people of this play down, it is not a political or
social structure, but the nature of the universe, and there isn't a
whole lot of hope for a playwright to offer if he begins from that
it is clear
that the television version would have benefited from the solid and
gloomy reality of sink estates and prison halls, director Gareth Corke
makes do with the resources available, and among some uneven secondary
players Ewan Bailey and Charlotte Fields create convincing
characterisations of hopeless depression.
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- Olly's Prison - Cock Tavern 2010