Shed Man by Kevin Jones

Shed Man by Kevin Jones. Presented by The James Company. Directed by Liam-James Maddin. The Camden Fringe August 2016.

A short dark comedy that’s reminds us of middle age!

A funny short dark comedy set in a garden. The four hander piece is set in a small garden in the home of Brian and Emma. All Brian wants to do is build his shed but his man hood time is disturbed by mum, his wife and his boss.

Brian (played by Tommy Carmichael) finds the comedy with this character, the desperation, panic and sadness. A character we all relate to and the centre of the piece. Tommy handles this character very well and I’m drawn straight away to his crazy dancing that reminds me of many embarrassing moments.

Mr Tatum (played by Bradley Thomas) does an excellent job portraying a secretive and slimy boss. The comedy is in what he does and that he just won’t leave Brian alone that sunny afternoon. The stage craft of using the centre of the aisle to the house works well.

Emma (played by Tiffany Rhodes) although has a short stage time, I find I want to know more about the character. We see her un happiness when her husband won’t leave with her that afternoon, but a more in-depth story with this character is wanted. And if time allowed I’m sure we would see it.

Pat, Brian’s mum (played by Niamh Mallott) has a fear of loneliness similar to Brian. We all find a Pat in our own parents and can have sympathy for her. Niamh is very entertaining with this character.

I found the important topics running throughout the play was adult depression, sadness and wanting to be heard. And in man’s midlife, it’s easy to put barriers up and to hide behind. Maybe in 2016 we are not all building sheds to hide in when the kids and wife are too much. But life has its objects to comfort us and an awareness like Shed Man informs this.

The choice of theatre (The Lion and Unicorn, in Kentish Town) is a great space. It’s probably one of the better fringe venues in the area. A black box with 40/50 seats that’s end on. However I found the space was not used so well. Production elements were a little low, I would’ve liked to have seen more lighting changes and use of shades. But stage props and theatre set were just right for a fringe production.

Is this play worth seeing? Yes if it transfers

Running at 50 minutes it’s a short that gets 4 Stars.

Dan Richards