Review: Racing Demon
REBEKAH-MIRON CLAYTON is interested, but not blown away, by this production.
‘Racing Demon’, a play with a focus on the Anglican Church, raised some important philosophical points whilst engaging the audience in occasional bouts of light humour. These elements of comedy were handled with casual expertise… (‘Will Christ be coming for a pizza?’ ‘Inevitably’) but occasionally the more in-depth messages struggled to make an impact.
The rich quality of female actors, particularly Heather Fantham (Streaky) really added a sense of professionalism to the proceedings. Her first entrance to her, comparatively small allowances of, dialogue gave a master class in presence and allowed some comic relief. Whilst swigging back several rather questionably coloured tequila sunrises, she maintained the audiences focus despite her silence in the dialogue.
Also notable was seasoned Bea Svistunenko (Frances), who handled her part with sheer ease and finesse. Her tone of voice was controlled, and considered and lent itself well to the more poetical lines that concluded the play.
Contrastingly several moments in the piece seemed a little under-rehearsed – this could have been due to first night nerves. Visually, the show was at times a tad messy – for example, in the tube scene the cast seemed to be holding safety rails independent to one another, some moving with the tube and others choosing to remain still.
At one point, the cast joined together in a chorus to offer some musicality to particular moments, which for me really highlighted their position as a congregation in a community church. However it did seem that many of the cast were unaware as to how long to keep singing for exactly. Hopefully, these are simply some of the technical problems that will be refined throughout its run.
Oli Macfarlane (Tony) was amongst the stronger members of the cast, and offered one of the most interesting performances. By the end of the production I strongly disliked his character, which is always testament to a convincing performance. Of all the reverend’s stories focused on within the play, his was perhaps the most engaging.
Overall ‘Racing Demon’ has all the makings for a powerful performance, however something about this production slightly missed the mark and this may well be due to more rehearsal being needed. The script understandably lends itself to those lighter moments of comedy, but I left feeling there was probably more to it all that just hadn’t quite managed to make impact. Regardless this production was enjoyable in many aspects, and remains one of few Cambridge productions to engage with religious conversation.
60% – scraping a 2:1