Search

A Dark Night in Dalston, Park Theatre, review: ‘Peels back layers of people from polarised social backgrounds’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 March 2017

Michelle Collins and Joe Coen in A Dark Night In Dalston at Park Theatre. Picture: Helen Murray

Michelle Collins and Joe Coen in A Dark Night In Dalston at Park Theatre. Picture: Helen Murray

© Copyright Helen Murray 2016

Former Eastender Michelle Collins stars as warm-hearted Gina, a nurse in her late forties with an addiction to painkillers who, following her husband’s stroke, now cares for him full-time

Bad things certainly happen to good people in Stewart Permutt’s affecting new dark comedy. A Dark Night in Dalston peels back the layers of two people from polarised social backgrounds, crippled by duty.

At first glance, Simon Daw’s thrust-set stakes out its kitchen sink credentials. Quickly the set’s backdrop – a blown-up photograph of council estate flats – turns into a kaleidoscope of uniform anonymity. It’s this schism – slippery, surface naturalism concealing tragic depths – that unsettles throughout.

Former Eastender Michelle Collins stars as warm-hearted Gina, a nurse in her late forties with an addiction to painkillers who, following her husband’s stroke, now cares for him full-time.

When Gideon (Joe Coen), an observant, mild-mannered young Jewish accountant is the victim of a racist attack, she takes him in.

As it’s Shabbat and a long walk back to Stanmore, Gina offers him dinner. One Kingsmill and Walkers crisp (both kosher) sandwich later and revelations are in full swing.

Details about Gina’s personal difficulties, crisis of faith in Catholicism, plus her passion for learning Spanish and gossip are traded for Gideon’s confessions: he hates his job, resents his engagement to a nice Jewish girl, and can’t get over the death of his mother.

There’s also a heavy dose of sexual chemistry, salsa dancing and a hidden preoccupation with suicide.

At its core, this 95 minute two-hander is a tender mother-son love story. Collins is an energetic force on stage, channeling Abigail’s Party. The reveal is surprising and all the more marked given her performance is so comic.

Coen is utterly believable with his strained gaze fixed on the council flats through the windows, adrift in this alien environment.

While the tone is inconsistent and the writing meanders, this portrait of two needy souls striving to make a connection will linger.

Rating: 3/5 stars

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

08:00

In an article from our ‘Year in Sport’ pullout, the other teams in the Six Nations have their chances previewed

09:58

Police want to speak to this man after a woman was sexually assaulted while walking home from a night out in the Finsbury Park area.

Yesterday, 18:30

Everton have completed the signing of Theo Walcott from Arsenal in a deal worth £20 million on a three-and-a-half year contract.

Yesterday, 18:03

Shedding further light on illegal schools remains a chief priority for Hackney Council in the face of criticism from the Jewish community.

Yesterday, 15:31

When I gave up meat as a first-year student, I did so not just because of nascent first-world guilt about the environment and factory farming, but because it was cheaper.

Yesterday, 15:00

Spurs have won eight of their last 10 games in all competitions and suffered just one defeat during that period - at the Etihad last month

Yesterday, 14:30

The team at Newington Green’s popular Alma has opened a new pub, Be-Bop-A-Lula, in Green Lanes. It’s great. James Morris isn’t surprised.

Yesterday, 13:02

In an article from our ‘Year in Sport’ pull-out, we look back on Leyton Orient’s 2017 and explain why this year provides renewed hope



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists