WHEN Ingram York meets Michael Billa, he's happy to have found someone to ease the loneliness after his lover's death. But Billa has a secret; he's haunted by a childhood friend, Clinton Deix, who hasn't aged in 20 years. As York tries to uncover the truth behind Deix and Billa's conflicting stories, he is drawn deeper into a skewed reality that threatens both his sanity and his safety.
Author Jonathan Carroll's genius is in creating a world just one degree away from normal, twisting perceptions and distorting the everyday. Bringing this vision off the page is a challenging undertaking, and it's inevitable that something will be lost in the translation. Ben Moor's performance cannot be faulted; as a storyteller, he is superb. What's lacking in this production is imagination.
There isn't much in the way of staging to bring Carroll's vision to life; it's more of a dramatic reading than a play. here are creative touches, less than successful, such as the barely visible video images on two small screens. It is Moor's captivating stage presence that carries this, and while it's not an altogether successful adaptation, it does give a glimpse of the sense of wonder and terror that Carroll's original novella evokes.
KIRSTY KNAGGS SCOTSMAN 10TH AUGUST 2004
If a play can tackle such elusive themes as destiny, identity and isolation in such an unconventional way and not fall into a pit of pretension then it is doing something right. This very appealing production is made all the more dynamic through being delivered by a man armed only with sea shells and an umbrella. While dealing with homosexuality, murder and providence could make this heavy and hard work, the acting ability of Ben Moor brings these lofty themes right back down to earth, allowing the audience to become satisfyingly immersed in great theatre.
This adaptation of Jonathan Carroll's novella Black Cocktail is a vehicle for Ben Moor's engaging personal style, his strength and enthusiasm fused perfectly with straightforward wit and humour. It brings together the complexity of supernatural themes and ideas with honest description and wonderful storytelling. As the story becomes increasingly bizarre and removed from its starting point, the essential ideas are pertinently probed through the kind of schoolyard anecdotes you might expect in stand-up, yet delivered sensitively by this vulnerable character. The premise is not altogether original, yet this never hampers the performance which is utterly absorbing.
The nature of Black Cocktail is as dark and unusual as the name suggests, yet big themes are dealt with in a powerfully understated way, making them all the more intriguing. Moor handles his space and his audience as if they are the normal parameters of conversation and interaction. Carroll's text provides an interesting basis, but the real triumph here is Moor's ability to captivate his audience, which he does from the very first word.
FIONA KING - FEST - FRIDAY WEEK 2
I have no idea what to tell you about this show. I enjoyed it, yes. It was entertaining, definitely. But what was it about, you ask? Still not entirely sure. A monologue by Fringe regular Ben Moor, and based on a novella by Jonathan Carroll, it's about a paranormal TV show host, forced to question his own beliefs when he meets two men who are unavoidably connected with him. Are they friends, or his most dangerous enemies? Moor takes on all three roles, providing them with a subtle, hypnotic nergy. Slow to start, this is intense, nail biting, forget-to-breathe theatre. Visually bare, our attention is focused completely on the words. Take a friend; you'll want to talk about it for weeks afterwards.
tw rating: 4/5
[gs] THREE WEEKS - WEEK 2