Thrillers are tricky. TV only gets it right sometimes and even multi-million dollar movies can miss the mark. Go to the theatre to see a thriller and what do we want? For me, I want the experience to include some mystery, some high tension goings on and some unseeable, unexpected, plot twists. Throwing Shade’s DOWN AN ALLEY FILLED WITH CATS does a really good job putting all these on stage at King Street Theatre.
The self-named Timothy Timmony, an alchemist’s name if we ever heard it, appears to be a mild mannered, slightly absent minded and bumbling bookshop proprietor. As he is closing for the day, into his little shop bursts Simon Matthews, an adventurer of sorts with a rather odd desire for a book on the Napoleonic Wars. The mystery begins.
DOWN AN ALLEY FILLED WITH CATS is the little play that could. Written and set by Warwick Moss in the early 1980s in Sydney, it has had productions in London and off Broadway and one production received a favourable review in the New York Times in 1987. Moss has spoken in an interview about his love for the secrets behind cat’s eyes and how his book owner also relishes the ability of secrets to get you what you want.
The cast of Gabriel Egan (Simon) and William Jordan (Timothy) with director Tom Richards have created a production which balances the mystery of the developing storyline with the lighter moments as the unscrupulous young tomcat circles the streetwise and manipulative alleycat.
Egan brings that high energy on with him and manages the delicate task of keeping Simon dynamic without wearing out his audience or getting so big as to be out of character.
Jordan is equally effective at being openly secretive by engendering Timothy with the distinct impression he has just told a lie, even when being confessional.
The production elements tie in nicely to the 1984 setting and it’s worth staying in the theatre at interval to listen to some great Aussie rock tracks.
It’s quite a short offering but, apart from a dip in the second sequence, DOWN AN ALLEY FILLED WITH CATS is an entertaining pacey show.
DOWN AN ALLEY FILLED WITH CATS continues at King Street Theatre until 13 May.