TheatreBubble.com enjoyed The Armour and gave it four out of five stars. Lovely! Read it below:
Time is a dominating factor in this new work by Defibrillator Theatre and Ben Ellis, following on from their Hotel Plays (Tennessee Williams) at the same venue last year. 2015 heralds the 150th anniversary of The Langham Hotel- incidentally the first ‘Grand’ Hotel in Europe and the company celebrate it in some style, taking the audience back some 143 years to just after the birth of The Langham.
But we start at the end of time in this site specific piece- or rather, present day, with the audience ushered into the soft plush interior of The Langham’s Nightclub. Hannah Spearitt, formally of S Club 7, plays Jade, a moody in the- process- of- a- break down pop star, who refuses to show up at her concert at the O2, where the crowds are waiting drunk on Alcopops. Her manager Franky (Thomas Craig) pleads, cajoles, takes a funny turn on the couch in role play as a pretend psychiatrist, before persuading the star she must turn up. Thematically, one is reminded not just of the kinds of people who frequent such hotels in present day Britain- sure, isn’t this kind of thing happening at a lot of hotels in Central London? One wonders. But also of the ‘aloneness’ staying in a hotel brings. It’s a strange thing to come and live in a hotel as an isolated unit, with no where and perhaps no one to turn to if things go wrong, when all around you, you are surrounded by staff who live in a community and who work together, play together and a whole lot more ( I should know, I used to work in such a hotel myself). The action is promenaded all around the audience, Hannah Spearitt makes her character sympathetic– at least I thought so- and there is a lovely relationship revealed between her and her emotionally intelligent manager. Connecting this play, with the end play, is a rather magnificent overcoat from the 1870s which Jade has stolen out of its glass cage- ‘I want to see it live again’ she pronounces. Quite right too, we think, although the coat seems wonderfully like the ghosts we experience- exhibits shut up in a cage. But there is another thematic concern that dominates the next two plays and illuminates a cultural shift over what concerns us, the types of people staying in hotels now, and the concerns of a different era.