Rather like the high-octane escapades of the title character in Penny Gunter’s new play Dorian’s Second Life, one-man shows are inherently risky. Sharing the stage with nothing other than an imposing mass of scaffolding and a length of nylon webbing is asking a lot of Dean Rehman. Thrillingly, he delivers in spades, with a taut, sinuous performance as an adrenaline junkie pathologically addicted to fear.
Sita Calvert-Ennals paces the piece well, with performance, lighting and sound design colluding to bring out all the nuances of Gunter’s subtle and engaging text. Crucially, the various strands of Dorian’s story past and present are given time to breathe and develop before being brought together, and though there may be a slight loss of momentum towards the middle, the understatedly moving conclusion that the stage is being set for is worth it. In fact, the level of depth achieved in less than an hour is truly admirable: you are unlikely to find as much unfussy intensity per minute anywhere else in Bristol.
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