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Tiny Dynamite review at Old Red Lion Theatre – ‘strikingly designed’

Niall Bishop, Tanya Fear and Eva Jane-Willis in Tiny Dynamite at the Old Red Lion, London. Photo: Richard Davenport Niall Bishop, Tanya Fear and Eva Jane-Willis in Tiny Dynamite at the Old Red Lion, London. Photo: Richard Davenport
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Abi Morgan’s three-hander Tiny Dynamite was last seen at the Lyric Studio in 2003. As well as continuing to write for theatre, Morgan has since written screenplays such as The Iron Lady and Suffragette and this piece has a number of filmic qualities, most notably in its emphasis on hazy atmosphere and slicing between scenes.

Charting “three points of the same triangle”, David Loumgair’s production changes the gender of Lucien (now Luce) from male to female, which offers a less predictable slant on the love triangle that ensues.

The premise, involving friendship and trauma with a touch of the supernatural, is intriguing, though Morgan’s writing is enigmatic to the point of opacity, and the insertion of an interval further slows down the somewhat soporific pace.

Anthony (Niall Bishop), who survived being struck by lightning as a child, leaving him with an unspecified mental illness, is taken on an annual summer holiday to a remote watery setting by risk analyst Luce (Eva-Jane Willis).

Loumgair’s production is most powerful in the way in which it makes use of the hazardous combination of electricity and water on a small deck-like stage surrounded by a moat, illuminated by exposed light bulbs, hinting at a disaster waiting to happen.

Willis impresses as the outwardly composed but self-loathing Luce, who has just as many issues as the volatile Anthony. The midsummer madness, however, ultimately culminates in more of a fizzle than an explosion, the result of keeping the characters at arms length until the end.

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A strikingly designed production of Abi Morgan’s overly elusive play