Snapshot - A Personal Review

So, I wrote a review for this play for but I also wanted to write another. to see if I could effectively write two reviews for the same play but make each review distinct in its style. So, if you fancy another read of my thoughts then read on................

As I charge headlong into the twilight years of life I do start to wonder if human beings really should be in relationships at all.  I know as we go through our teens, twenties, etc we all look for that one person to settle down with but as a species, are we really that monogamous? This question has sprung to mind after seeing George Johnston’s new play Snapshot at The Hope Theatre in Islington.

Foreign Currency trader Daniel (Joey Akubeze) is doing OK. Let’s be honest he is doing better than OK. Well educated - private school then Magdalene College, Cambridge - He now earns a significant salary - the likes of which we mere mortals can only dream - and has a lovely apartment in leafy Pimlico which he shares with his partner James (Brian Martin). Daniel’s job is hard - fourteen hour days and working weekends are the norm - and he really feels the pressure at times. Luckily James is always there to support him. In fact, James is always there as he is currently unemployed - a budding photographer waiting for his big break. Also often there is James’ old uni mate Olivia (Zoë Lambrakis). She and Daniel don’t necessarily get on that well, but remain civil as they both loves James. However, one day Daniel comes home and meets someone new. James introduces his new friend, Frank (Bruce kitchener) a retired artistically inclined man who admires James’ photographs and has offered to help him get his break. Three people whose lives come together because of one man. What could possibly go wrong? .

The first thing that strikes the audience on arriving is a huge picture of Battersea power Station on the rear wall which looks amazing against the gentle light around it. Then you notice James, stood behind a couch looking at photographs in a box.  Once the show starts, there is a lovely light over the couch that really caught my eye. It was pretty splendid and was used to great effect in between scenes - so nice work there by Lighting Designer Tom Turner. The Hop hasn’t the biggest stage in the world but Fiona Rigler’s set - a large couch and small table filled with Harry Potter books - created the impression of the nice apartment well as did the costumes. Joey in particular looked every inch the city type as Daniel moved around getting ready for work and trying to look after his prima donna of a boyfriend with as much patience as he could muster.

Its interesting that writer George Johnston has managed to create three characters that are really not that nice as people, and it’s brilliant that the actors have brought them to life so well. Being honest, I would normally be the sort of person that could forgive an attractive guy, with a great body and an Irish accent anything but, even I kept thinking of Brian Martin’s James in the same way I once viewed Annakin Skywalker in Episodes II and III. Thinking the world was against him, opting for the easy option and ready to lash out when confronted by his actions. He obviously loved Daniel in his own way - and there was a really nice chemistry between the two actors - but wasn’t afraid to hurt Daniel by turning his own fears against him when needed. Zoë and Bruce were great in their respective roles but in some respects, I wanted to know more of their back stories and gain a better understanding of their actions - particularly Olivia’s.

One of my pet hates with small shows is that sometimes attention to detail is missing. Snapshot is a production where this does not happen. Director James McAndrew has covered everything, so when a character uses a mobile phone, it ls switched on and lights up and when James lays back relaxing on the sofa watching an ‘adult art film’ on his laptop, there really was one on the screen, as those of sitting on the side could see.  That level of detail is excellent to see and really impressed me.

When added to the depth of writing and the first rate acting, it is obvious that Snapshot is a really great show with a sound future ahead of it. The running time of around 75 minutes could, to my mind, be extended slightly to include more about Frank and Olivia but, let’s be honest, if I could write a play I wouldn’t be sat here reviewing them.  All in all, Snapshot was a thoroughly enjoyable production that held me in the palm of its hand from start to finish.

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