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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

One and One - Monopoly of Loss

27th June 2003.

The Newbury Weekly News review.

Squaring up to the taboo

One and One Theatre Company: Monopoly of Loss, at New Greenham Arts, on Friday, June 27

If having your own resident theatre company marks a coming of age for any venue, then having the One and One Theatre Company installed at New Greenham Arts must be the performing arts equivalent of a celebratory popping of champagne corks. If this is true then artistic director Pete Watts should certainly be raising a glass or two in honour of his work in progress Monopoly of Loss.

Based on the short stories of Adam Mars-Jones, this one-man production looks squarely at death through the eyes of the terminally ill, the carer and the bereaved; three very different characters dealing with the one taboo subject we have still not been able to rationalise, despite our ability to probe the outer limits of our physical universe.

In Slim we hear not so much the thoughts of a man dying from AIDS, but his take on our use of words; the way we manipulate their meaning to suit our own ends. He resolutely chooses to refer to himself as 'slim' yet his weight loss contrasts starkly with the glamour and social acceptance of the 'slim' we diet and aspire to.

That the character in this piece is no hero with a sexual or political axe to grind owes everything to the skill of the actor and the power of the dialogue.

The Changes of Those Terrible Years, although equally as powerful in the telling, would have benefited from a change in pace. There was a rage, real and justified, that was never quite allowed to surface and a seam of black humour that deserves to be explored if the piece is to evolve to its full potential and stand tall in its own right.

Prayer was just that. But who do we pray for? And how do we do it? How can we celebrate a life in its entirety when our conventions tell us otherwise? A mix of photographic images, voice-overs and music, it provided a compelling climax to a thought provoking evening.

Let us hope this work in progress continues to raise a glass or two for some time to come.