The Lead Wait


This is theatre for festival film goers. It’s literally and figuratively gritty – dirt is shifted around and washed off bodies. There are canaries in a cage as one walks into the theatre. Secrets are hinted at, discussed, exposed. A fish is gutted with a particularly blunt knife then cooked on stage.
There are four characters. Leon (Scott Wills) carries rage and hurt with a slice of viciousness as he goes about his business digging holes. His sister Juliet (Heather O’Carroll) is weighed down by life and the decrepit ruin their house has become. The lodger, Iain (Richard Chapman) wants to leave but isn’t quite quick or brave enough to do it. The Man (Jason Whyte) returns to the house after a long absence. His presence stirs up old resentments.
The stage is between two sections of audience. Several times I looked up to notice that many on the other side had their hands to their throats or over their mouths. This mirrored what I was doing. There is such a sense of hopelessness and dread that we were physically trying to hold it back.
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are a few laughs to be had from the stories the characters tell as they skirt around the issue of what happened before the Man left. Even in those moments of levity, there is a creeping horror at what surely must be coming. I like this script. I like the way it doesn’t tell the audience what happened. We have to work it out for ourselves. I like the restraint in the acting.

Directed by Andrew Foster, The Lead Wait is on at Circa until 11 June.
Note: contains strong language, full nudity and raw subject material.

Tuesday and Wednesday 6.30pm
Thursday to Saturday 8.00pm
Sunday 4.00pm


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