Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness

Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, the play by Frank McGuinness on three hostages in Lebanon, is powerful and poignant. It also has an impressive structure, raising and lowering tension, mingling despair with hope, fantasy with grim reality, religiosity with agnosticism, comedy with high drama. In the current revival at the Harrogate Theatre Studio it is superbly acted. Resisting the temptation to caricature, the three performers offer probing characterisations which develop as the play and time in the cell is prolonged. Faz Singhateh as the American Adam vacillates convincingly between bravado and humiliating vulnerability. Michael Garside as the Irishman Edward can be aggressive and eccentric, but also tender and simple. Paul Dunstan finds inner strength in the apparently wimpish Englishman Michael and, upper lip notwithstanding, eventually resorts to tears. The production by Rachel Conyers is beautifully paced. The audience, seated around the action in close proximity to the hostages are drawn relentlessly into their fate. Oh, and by the way, this theatrical event, of a ridiculously high quality, is given by the amateur Harrogate Dramatic Society. As one of the characters in the play reiterates when summing up the madness which leads to innocent hostage-taking, “ridiculous; ridiculous”.