Last night, at the Arcola, I witnessed the return of The Poltergeist, Philip Ridley’s blazing one-man show from 2020. It is a terrific piece of writing, a text which is a masterpiece of storytelling that challenges any actor to perform its twists and turns, its many different voices, and its deep emotional undertow with the necessary precision. Needless to say, Joseph Potter — who performed the original staging online because of the pandemic — rises once again to the occasion, and then some. Using a bare playing space to its fullest extent, he animates the text with a power-packed performance which gradually accelerates to such a degree that I found myself slipping closer and closer to the edge of my seat. His rat-a-tat recitation of the art movements of the 20th century got a spontaneous round of applause. Surely he’s an award-winner! Perfection is always mind-blowing and this production, directed once again by Wiebke Green, is totally thrilling and deeply moving. In the post-show interview afterward, Ridley spoke with typical generosity, openness, and intelligence about the links between autobiography and creative writing, as well as both charming and enthralling the audience with stories about his career. Altogether it was a mesmerizing experience, full of energy and leaving a buzz of real fulfillment. Once again, all hail the shimmering dark. Glorious.
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This post was written by Aleks Sierz.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.