Thursday, 24 September 2015

REVIEW - Pomona, National Theatre

A GIRL has gone missing, dodgy things are going on in the middle of wasteland in Manchester and lives are spiralling out of control. Welcome to Pomona.
Pomona is a dark hole, somewhere where reality and the imagination collide and where you are never quite sure what is going on or whether it’s real or the most awful nightmare.
It is the subject of a play by Alistair McDowall which was performed at Richmond’s Orange Tree theatre a year ago and has now transferred to the National’s Temporary Theatre.
It is spooky, brutal, gripping, sinister, surreal and compelling and takes no prisoners.
It starts with Zeppo, a Manchester property owner, who is describing a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark to Ollie, a young woman whose twin sister is missing.
He tells her that she could be in Pomona, a deserted island in the middle of Manchester where people are taken - and very much gives the impression they don’t come out alive – warning her not go looking.
She ignores him and then via a series of flashbacks we see her journey to Pomona plus those of a brothel madam, two security guards, and a prostitute who is trying to flee an abusive husband.
In the middle of it all is Keaton, a young girl who is somewhat odd and with a penchant for HP Lovecraft’s monsters who meets up with security guard Charlie for regular games of Dungeons and Dragons.
Things start to go wrong almost immediately and it’s pretty horrible. Not only that it’s never made clear whether what we are seeing is the subject of someone’s over active imagination or whether it’s all real.
By the time it ended it was almost a relief as it was exhausting trying to keep up. But it is a clever story, fast, gripping and rather scary.
The acting is top notch and the staging in the round at the Temporary Theatre makes it incredibly immersive.

Pomona is on at the Temporary Theatre, National Theatre, until Saturday October 10. Tickets cost from £15. Visit or call the box office on 020 7452 3000.

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