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When All the Crowds Have Gone
Published on Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Billed by its creators as a Great Gatsby for today, When All The Crowds Have Gone sets the age-old tribulations of family relations against a backdrop of the modern world.  A brand-new but classically-formed play, we’ve picked this one out thanks to its promising pairing of a proven writer with an ambitious young director.

When All The Crowds Have Gone

As the play begins, media mogul John puts fraternal relations to the test, inviting brother Geoffrey to write his biography.  But Geoffrey’s getting dangerously close to John’s young wife – and before long, Geoffrey’s own partner is the target of John’s cynically vengeful seduction.  It’s a familiar tale… and we don’t think it’s likely to end well.

It’s the latest script from the pen of Lucy Nordberg, whose last work King Arthur played to general acclaim at August’s Edinburgh Fringe.  An intelligent and finely-woven reimagining of the Malory legends, the 90-minute play blended topical political themes with a fair few iambic pentameters, cooking up a notably solid piece of theatre in the increasingly bite-sized festival.  When All The Crowds Have Gone at first sounds a world apart, but the similarities are there to be found: this too is a meaty piece based on themes of jealousy and self-destruction, and with the US/UK “special relationship” promised as a topical undertone.

Realising Nordberg’s vision this time round is local director Chris Hislop; it’s our duty to disclose that Hislop is an occasional contributor to FringeGuru, but his work had caught our eye long before that connection was made.  We praised the stripped-down presentation of his outdoor Oedipus as an “audacious gamble… well-paced and well-portrayed”.  And separately, as director of last year’s surprise hit A Fistful Of Snow, Hislop helped actor Danny Alder on his path to a prestigious Latest 7 Fringe award.

This year’s cast, too, is promising – Bob Gilchrist impressed in 2009’s Festen, to pick just one – and the full-length format should give them plenty of time to explore the nuances of their roles.  Recommending new writing is always a risky business, but When All The Crowds Have Gone has an unquestionable pedigree.  We’re hoping it proves a rewarding pick for an evening of drama at the Fringe.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.