Energetic explosions rock the ADC

Edward Rowett 30 October 2007

Tiny Dynamite traces the dysfunctional relationship of odd couple ‘Lucien’ (Rob Carter) and ‘Anthony’ (Pablo Navarro Maclochlainn), one shy and self-conscious, the other eccentric and unstable. Friends since childhood, the pair’s lives have wandered far from each other: ‘Lucien’ its in an office assessing risks, while Anthony lives (quite happily, he claims) on the streets. Every year, however, ‘Lucien’ picks his friend out of the gutter, cleans him up, and the two head to the countryside for a short break.

It is on just such a holiday that we meet them, reminiscing over old times and re-opening old wounds. Into their lives wanders the free-spirited ‘Madeline’ (Iona Blair), a woman eerily reminiscent of a girl from their past, a girl who committed suicide in their presence. Past mixes with present as history begins to repeat itself, and the two lock into a contest for her affections. It is a play that asks big questions on a small scale, of who we love and what it costs us.

The play was first performed in Edinburgh six years ago, and feels very much like the sort of play one would expect to find at the Fringe, stripped down and quirky. It is given a well executed production here, which makes fine use of lighting and a relatively simple set: together the three actors manage to give a strong sense of place to whatever location they are inhabiting, an upside-down table of a boat being particularly effective. Also the ever-present crackle of static is a nicely unnerving touch.

The scene changes, however, though slick and interesting, are perhaps a little self-conscious. Indeed, this accusation could be levelled at the whole production, which at times does not give the performers full room to breathe. This is play all about relationships, and occasionally the stylistic quirks threaten to overwhelm the performances.

All three of the actors do give strong, naturalistic performances, with Rob Carter in particular standing out. He perfectly channels the frustration of a man who feels all the time he must play the role of protector to a friend who needs him; his physicality is a model of repression, a perfect contrast to Maclochlainn’s boundless energy.

This is an enjoyable production that deserves a much larger audience. The play combines gentle humour with a deeper examination of friendship, love, and the choice between risk and stability.

Edward Rowett