“Archimedes’ Principle” – what an intriguing name. The scientific principle is the discovery that the volume of an object can be measured by measuring the volume of the liquid it displaces after being submerged, and the buoyancy of an object immersed in a liquid to be calculated. For a piece set in a swimming pool, I thought that the show was very cleverly named. Although I must say that when watching this dark and disturbing piece, I felt drained of buoyancy, and somewhat submerged.
In light of the recent influx of high profile paedophile accusation, Archimedes Principle, the tale of a young lifeguard accused of being a pervert, is heartbreakingly relevant. What I like most about Josep Maria Miro Coromina’s piece (translated by Dustin Langan) is the way in which the narrative is told, with scenes jumping forwards and backwards in time to reveal various poignant moments for each character. It was almost as if, by using this device, the audience were jurors examining witnesses and rehashing various pieces of evidence. Furthermore, what I liked most about the delivery of the narrative is that it is never made clear whether or not lifeguard, Brandon, is guilty. The audience must decide for themselves, which again heightens the “jury” feel.
Despite there being just four actors in the entire piece, the emotional weight of the production was heavy. I was very impressed with each character, who seemed to embody a different viewpoint towards the subject matter. Julian Sims was flawless as the protective father and, despite featuring in just two scenes of the show, was able to leave a lasting impression.
The demise of the relatively “laddy” Brandon (Lee Knight) and Matt (Matt Bradley-Robinson) was hard to stomach, with both young actors gifted with the chance to express a whole spectrum of emotions throughout the piece, which they did with flair. Similarly the demise of pool manager Anna (Kathryn Worth) filled the small room with intense sadness. Although Worth’s performance got off to a rockier start, she managed to come into her own at the end of the piece and show some real performative flair.
This was my first trip to the Park Theatre, a lovely new venue in Finsbury Park (that sells amazing cake!) and Josep Maria Miro Coromina’s play provided me with an interesting introduction to the venue. Staged in traverse, the scenic elements of this piece were extremely impressive. Watching such a sensitive piece whilst seeing the faces of audience members ahead of you always manages to heighten tension and in this instance somewhat implicated the voyeurs in the action.
If smellography can ever be a thing, which in this modern day of immersive theatre it should be (!) then director Marta Noguera-Cuevas hit the nail on the head. Walking into a warm room that smelt like chlorine made the experience real for me, as did smelling deodorant and cigarette smoke. Something for future directors to ponder.
All in all this is a very well written new piece of writing, staged by a talented team of creatives and actors. It is well worth a trip to the Park Theatre.
Archimedes’ Principle runs at the Park Theatre until the 11th May 2014