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Man Across The Way

Published Friday 17 August 2007 at 11:20 by Gerald Berkowitz

Policemen ask questions and they like answers, preferably those that make the world make sense in their eyes.

The detective at the centre of Oliver Emanuel’s play enjoys playing Twenty Questions while he and a junior are on surveillance duty observing a suspect, but we gradually deduce that more than police work is at stake here, and the cop needs to get the answers or produce the results that will make everything right for him.

His needs are connected not only to his work but to his marriage, to the truly surprising discovery that his wife was not happy with him, to something shocking that happened to her, and to his conviction these and the man he’s watching are all related in a way he can prove. The play shows him shaping reality to make it fit his vision.

The psychological drama necessitates a degree of mystery and ambiguity, but Emanuel’s play is weakened by excessive and unnecessary mystification that can make it difficult to follow in progress or piece together in retrospect.

Some small clarifications, such as of the play’s timeline, would not have hurt the mystery. A cast led by Grae Cleugh in the central role make every moment real and convincing while being less successful in tying the pieces together.

Production information

Underbelly, Edinburgh, August 2-26

Oliver Emanuel
Daniel Bye
Silver Tongue Theatre and Theatre 503
Grae Cleugh, Nicholas Cowell, John Milroy, Harriette Quarrie
Running time:

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014