The Standard Short Long Drop, 3 Stars

The Standard Short Long Drop
Vanguard Theatre, Camden
18th Sept to 22nd Oct 2023

“In this thrilling new drama set against the backdrop of Victorian York, Lewis ‘Ludley’ Thornhill is a young man condemned to death. However, his fate takes an unexpected twist when he is offered a stay of execution under one condition: he must serve as the hangman for his mysterious older cellmate, Alistair. Over the course of their final days together, Ludley uncovers the truth about Alistair’s past, whilst grappling with the decision of whether to trade this man’s life for his own.

An intensely personal journey that is also an exploration of class, mortality and unlikely friendship.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars

Stunning TV Studio style of lighting take this production to the next level. On top of a prison-cell set there is a lot to love in this dramatical play. Just superb lighting design which makes the show!

With a really powerful sound design and sync’d lighting effects for the scene changes, well-staged movements, this has “technical quality” throughout. All the more impressive in a small studio space.

The direction is where the play doesn’t quite rise to the same high standards. The first third of the play is very static with Ludley sat on the bed with his back to the stage right seating section. The delivery from the actor is at a shouty level with little variation until the final scenes. This detracts from being able to engage on the emotional journey between the two prisoners as they transition from adversary to friendship. The play has all the right ingredients but the director hasn’t  just managed to tease this out of the text and into the performance.

Authentic looking cloth fabric prison costumes work but these are undermined by hair in a top knot held with an elastic band. A sterling performance from Kevin Wathen playing Alastair.

A fabulous venue making the play well worth visiting but do ask the production staff where to sit if you want to see the show.

Photo credit: Jason Warner

Cast:Kevin Wathen (Alastair). His theatre credits include ‘The Standard Short Long Drop’ (Edinburgh Fringe 2023), ‘The Last Ship’ and ‘Get Carter’ (Northern Stage) and ‘Billy Ellliot’.Per Carminger (Ludley). His theatre credits include ‘The Standard Short Long Drop’ (Edinburgh Fringe 2023), ‘Salome’ (Royal Opera House), ‘Sweeney Todd’, and ‘Oh, What a Lovely War’ (Dartington Summer Festival). Creative team:Director Natasha RickmanLighting Designer Mark DymockSound Designer & Composer Lex KosankeGeneral Manager Dan BlumenauProduced by Ticking Clock Theatre in association with Sterling Paris

Rachel Garnet (Writer)A graduate of Vancouver Film School in Writing for Film and Television, Rachel has spent the last few years cultivating a successful career in theatre. Along with her critically acclaimed play ‘Starcrossed which played at London’s historic Wilton’s Musical Hall, other produced works include audio adventure ‘Silverbell Smith and the Music Makers’, children’s picture book ‘Ballet is For Everyone’, and the im mersive theatrical experience ‘shadowplay’ which premiered in New York City in 2018.  Natasha Rickman (Director)Directing credits include ‘Richard II’ (Guildford Shakespeare Company) ‘Little Women’ (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre) ‘The Prince’ (Southwark Playhouse) ‘Now and Then’ (English Theatre Frankfurt) ‘Antigone (Storyhouse) Much Ado About Nothing (RADA at the Utah Shakespeare Festival) The Duchess of Malfi, Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Whatsapp, The Tail of the Beauty and the Tail of the Beast (Creation Theatre). Mark Dymock (Lighting Designer)Graduated from Croydon Art College and has designed numerous shows throughout the country.Credits include: ‘Once’ (National Tour), ‘Tony! Tony Blair the Rock Opera’ (Harry Hill and Stephen Brown), ‘Ken’ (Terry Johnson and Hampstead), ‘House and Garden’ (Watermill Theatre) ‘Clybourne Park’ (National Tour), ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’ (25th Anniversary Tour), ‘Don’t Look Now’ (nominated for Offie Best Lighting Design – Queen’s Theatre); ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ (National Tour).Lex Kosanke ( Sound Designer and Composer)Recent credits include ‘Now and Then’ and ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ (English Theatre Frankfurt), ‘The Grand Expedition’ (London, Seoul, Shanghai and Shenzhen), ‘The Girl Who Was Very Good At Lying’ (UK Tour), ‘Supernova’ (UK Tour), ‘Rice’ (UK Tour), ‘Final Baby Girl’ (UK Festival Tour), ‘The Burnt City’ and ‘Small Wonders’ (Punchdrunk).Dan Blumenau (General Manager)Dan started his professional life as a performer and appeared in television, film and theatre productions until moving behind the scenes in 2003. Through his work with Debbie O’Brien Casting, Dan has worked on West End productions such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Palace Theatre), Thriller Live (Lyric Theatre), The King and I (Royal Albert Hall), Grease (Piccadilly Theatre) and Flashdance (West End & UK Tour).His start in production came under Michael Alden (The Hours, Kissing Jessica Stein) on Bat Boy – The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre and then across multiple West End, UK and international productions including Dirty Dancing and a number of projects for Douglas McJannet at Arden Entertainment. Following his first role as a Producer on The Show Girls at the Arts Theatre, he went on to work as a Producer for the Generating Company, producing shows such as Cacophony, Craze and Soho Circus. In 2022, after 11 years of working for Disney, Sterling Paris was founded to bring almost 20 years of production, talent and financial knowledge to productions of all sizes. Since its  inception, Sterling Paris has worked on productions such as Mamma Mia! The Party at the O2, Starcrossed (Wilton’s Music Hall), Stand Up Londres (Crazy Coqs) and The Standard Short Long Drop (Edinburgh Festival & The Vanguard Theatre, Camden).Ticking Clock Theatre – Producer Founded in 2015, Ticking Clock Theatre is a small yet passionate company invested in creative new works that focus on imaginative and heightened stories with deeply human foundations. We strive to leave our audiences with a sense of wonder and emotion which can only be achieved through live entertainment. Most recent projects include ‘The Standard Short Long Drop; at the Edinburgh Fringe, two seasons of the musical podcast ‘With Love, Victoria’, and the play ‘Starcrossed’ at Wilton’s Music Hall,  FringeNYC and Capital Fringe. Other works include ‘shadowplay: an immersive experience’ and comedy musical ‘Shadows on the Hill’. INFOTicking Clock Theatre in association with Sterling Paris presentThe Standard Short Long Dropby Rachel GarnetThe Vanguard, CamdenNorth Yard, Stables Market, Camden Market, London NW1 8AH18 September – 22 OctoberPress night: Wednesday 27 September at 7.30pmTickets: from £15.00Bookings: Age recommendation: 16+How to get to The VanguardThe venue is situated in the North Yard of the historic Camden Market.The closest underground station is Chalk Farm.