Jan 23

Vertigo Theatre’s ‘Bloodshot’ has talent but lacks tension

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

If you’re going to open a solo show in the Vertigo Playhouse Theatre, it had better be a performer who can keep an audience’s rapt attention in that large space. And it might as well be a solo show that redefines the meaning of a solo performance. That’s what Vertigo Theatre’s Bloodshot is. It’s a different take on a solo show, the first solo show in Vertigo’s theatre season, and it’s an incredible talented actor - Simon Slater - that pulls it all off.

Bloodshot tells of Derek Eveleigh, a member of the police force for 15 years who had a particular talent for photography and a penchant for the drink. His alcoholism gets him fired and he mysteriously gets fired to take pictures of a lady named Cassandra. Unable to make rent payments without a job, he decides to take the gig and follows Cassandra around when she goes to Notting Hill park every day. But she is suddenly killed and Eveleigh will not rest until he finds out who did it. He tracks down consecutively, three men who are suspects: Kenny McKinley, an Irish ukelele playing performer, Joey Bryant, an American saxaphone player and Alexander Kozlov, a Russian magician.

Slater moves from character to character, accent to accent and does not waiver on his delivery. He is quite a talented musician and magician. The set design has the Vertigo Theatre feeling a little smaller and that serves the play well. The narrative is aided by projection in the background that show the photographs that Eveleigh takes. The city of London is also a character in the play as a backdrop of the mystery.

The narrative of Bloodshot is incredibly slow and lacks that nail biting tension. The audience would like to know who the murderer is, it would be good to have the mystery wrapped up, but there isn’t a burning desire for resolution. And it’s because it takes so long for the play to set up the mystery and for the story to unfold. It’s not edge of your seat drama and not quite as entertaining as it could be, though Slater is quite the actor. Some of the characters are not even played by him, their pictures just flash in the background, or Eveleigh just tells the audience after the fact. The lack of immediacy in the play, drains the tension away.

Vertigo Theatre’s Bloodshot runs until February 15. More information is available online.

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