Buried Alive

by Philip Osment

Directed by Allan Stronach

March 23rd - April 7th, 2004

The Tower Theatre performing at Theatro Technis, Camden


Cast List

Margaret : Eileen Marner
Andrew : Paul Rutledge
Stewart : Jeffrey Smith
Kate : Suzanne Taylor
Liz : Jude McCrann
Jack : Phil Smith
Giovanni : Steven Templeman
Luis : Peter Miller
Ammy : Kumba Hutt


Production Team

Director : Allan Stronach
Assistant Director : Chris Peregrine
Set Design : Allan Stronach, Chris Peregrine
Lighting Design : Andy Peregrine
Costume Design : Meryl Grffiths
Sound Design : David Norman-Hedges

Stage Managers : John Field, Dorothy Wright
ASM : Lisa Kelvey
Lighting operators : Cathy Thomas, Keith Hill
Sound operator : David Norman-Hedges
Wardrobe : Elaine Prenzlau
Set construction : Keith Hill, Dorothy Wright
Voice Coach : Alexander Gordon Wood

Review by Nadia Abrahams for the Camden New Journal

Suicide, sexual repression, incest and mental abuse. A promising premise for drama and with the combination of an experienced playwright, competent acting and skilful directing, Philip Osment's Buried Alive proves to be a gripping, raw experience. The format is simple : journalist Ammy (Kumba Hutt) delves into the past to discover what motivates photo-journalist Stewart (Jeffrey Smith) renowned for his heartrending images, in particular that of a homosexual couple buried alive by the Taliban. What gradually emerges, however, is far from simple and the link between the past and present is more fitting than Ammy could ever imagine.

Flitting back and forth from the 1970s to the present day with such frequency is a potential recipe for disaster. Yet music, body language and props - an added shawl or a discarded shirt - leave little room for confusion. The minimalist set also serves its purpose : chairs and tables are effectively manipulated to evoke scenes in various locations and eras. So fluid are these changes that at one point six scenes fill the stage. Osment's talent does not lie in the dialogue or pithy one-liners but rather in his crafting of a play which slowly captivates. The onus is therefore on the actors. The cast all fulfil this duty, yet special mention should go to Suzanne Taylor as Kate who relays the necessary contradictions and Steven Templeman as Giovanni for his subtle and understated acting.

Another play focussing on the malign influence of the past on the present, touching on themes of domination, repression, abuse, and incest did not at first appeal. However, aside from a rather weak ending, Alan Stronach's version of Buried Alive, which was first performed at the Hampstead Theatre, succeeded in making a rather exhausted subject burn in new ways.