Belfast Telegraph

A dark tale with a few too many gaps to fill

By Grania McFadden

Guidlines for a long and happy life - Victor Stationery warehouse

It’s some time in the future — if you can call it a future. The world’s population has been decimated by a man-made virus.

Unstaffed nuclear power plants have added another layer of misery to the Earth. The few survivors are trying to cling on by following the guidelines for a happy life, broadcast on the airwaves for anyone able to listen.

This post-apocalyptic world — familiar to film and book buffs — is the scene for Tinderbox Theatre Company’s festival production, which has been set in the imposing surroundings of the old Victor Stationery warehouse in east Belfast. It’s a tremendous space — the vast first floor of an old, dimly-lit warehouse, made unfamiliar behind curtains of gauze and pools of dazzling lights.

Michael Duke’s careful direction brings out the best in this cautionary tale about trust. The weakest point of this visually striking production is the text itself — four disparate scenes which struggle to create a whole. It feels like an abridged version of something chunkier, where the audience is left with too many gaps to fill.

The fabulous — if slightly under-used — location is the star of the evening, alongside the post-apocalyptic costume chic.

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