'Excellent Choice' at VAULT (26 Feb '12, Waterloo) // Words: Gabriella Shimeld-Fenn
Eye Saw state that their goal is to “produce insightful yet fierce entertainment within a realistic framework”, and in Rob Hayes’ 'Excellent Choice' they have definitely succeeded. At only a mere half an hour long and using just two actors, this is a perfect example of a short play done right, and is great entertainment from start to finish.
The premise is deceptively simple – an quiet little wine shop owner is visited by a young man looking to buy a very special bottle of wine – but the play rapidly evolves into something bigger; encompassing kidnapping, blackmail, religious cults and even the semen of Jesus Christ!
Jeff Rawle – a face familiar to many from excellent character roles in TV and film – excels as the eccentric shopkeeper Peter; giving us tiny hints at the character’s potentially dark past and leaving us unsure as to how much of his bumbling and bluster is genuine. Ben Dilloway, as the younger character Samuel, provides an admirable foil but in the end doesn’t quite live up to Rawle’s depth of experience, particularly in the latter stages of the play where he is required to display a heightened level of emotional anguish.
However, director Ned Bennett has done well to bring out the humour as well as the tension in the script by using Dilloway as rather a deadpan and nonplussed counterpoint to Rawle’s tangential ramblings and strange behaviour at the start of the play, and though the ambiguous ending was rightly necessary, the lighting was used to great effect to signify this denouement.
All in all, this was great value at only £5 per ticket and I look forward to seeing more from Eye Saw in the future.
More details of VAULT at thevaultfestival.com.