The Dazzle is the story of Langley Collyer, an aspiring concert pianist, who is cared for by his older brother Homer and their encounters with the wealthy, rebellious Milly Ashmore.
The stage was set in a thrust staging with Ben Stones’ design being both simplistic and crowded. Within the main acting space lay a piano, chaise longue and various books, music scores, boxes, clothes, masks, kitchen appliances. Whilst the set was kept fairly tidy during Act I, it became a lot busier and messier for Act II, after Langley left Milly at their wedding, to show the destruction of their lives after the brothers lost their only friend other than one another.
The lights and sounds came from within the audience itself, thus you were immersed within the lives of the brothers, as they played the piano, sang, danced and lived. This created interesting shadows upon the actors bodies, symbolising what the dialogue did not speak. When Langley and Milly were dancing, he was cast in a warm, steady glow, signifying his innocence. Yet, she flittered in and out of the shadows, as her lips proclaimed innocence; the stage design hinted at her lies.
Simon Evan’s directing was sleek, the actors moving around the set effortlessly. His directing suffered during Act II, when Homer becomes blind; David Dawson’s eyes told stories of the brothers lives his lips never uttered, and without them, it felt as though the play lost some of its sparkle.
The chemistry between Andrew Scott, David Dawson and Joanna Vanderham was tangible throughout, particularly between Scott and Dawson. Dawson was the calm to Scott’s anxiousness; their bickering, their caresses, their stares echoed that of a true sibling bond.
A spectacular production overall.
Director: Simon Evans
Playwright: Richard Greenberg
Starring: Andrew Scott, David Dawson and Joanna Vanderham
Set Designer: Ben Stones
Photo: Marc Brenner