“Present day. Winter. Council tower block. Could be any estate in London.”
After the death of their mother, Gary (Fog) and Lou are put into care by their soldier father, Cannon. Ten years later Cannon returns to find a dysfunctional and damaged family whilst Fog’s closest friend, Michael, and his sister, Bernice, are taking great strides to improve themselves and their lives. Is it too little too late for Fog’s family or can they make good?
Toby Wharton (also playing Gary/Fog) and Tash Fairbanks’ script is intriguing and has some lovely moments but altogether it doesn’t feel quite finished. Emotions run high throughout the piece but seem to constantly be changing, usually before the audience has had time to fully register and appreciate the first. At times the writing doesn’t seem spontaneous enough and can come across as pre-planned and over-thought.
The set, which features slabs of concrete and a lone light bulb, works well to emphasise the idea of bleakness. Cannon’s flat is barely furnished and sterile while Michael’s mother’s home has a feeling of warmth (when all that is added is a framed photograph and a throw).
Benjamin Crawley’s performance as Michael was very enjoyable and strong. Crawley created a character that the audience can easily empathise with and his understated performance suited the intimate space of the Finborough perfectly. Victor Gardener as Cannon utilises the rapid change of emotion, written into the lines throughout the play, to his advantage and creates a very believable relationship with Fog. Gardner’s very presence is powerful. Toby Wharton’s Gary (Fog), however, didn’t sit quite right with me. Looking more 27 than 17, Wharton seems to pitch his voice higher in an attempt to capture the youth of Fog. Fog is a character caught between man and boy, trying to find his way in the world. I feel that more could have been made of this in Wharton’s choices.
Fog feels unfinished but with more work on character relationships, emotion and spontaneity this piece could become something to watch. An intriguing piece that hopefully will be developed further.
Fog is playing at the Finborough Theatre until 28th January. For more information and tickets, see the Finborough Theatre website.