By Jane Soar
The God of Carnage, Harrogate Dramatic Society, Harrogate Theatre Studio
Originally written in French by Yasmina Reza, The God of Carnage is about two sets of parents, one of whose son has hurt the other’s in a public park, who meet to resolve the matter in a civilised manner.
However, as the evening unfolds the conversation between both sets of parents reveals their true feelings; irrational arguments covering , racial prejudice and homophobia, things they pretend to understand and yet ashamedly ignore.
This is a difficult play and under Judith Kenley’s skilful and sensitive direction the four actors from Harrogate Dramatic Society rose to the challenge admirably, with timing, clear understanding and integrity.
Veronique Vallon, whose son has been injured, opens the scene by stating the facts in a calm and controlled manner, keen for any kind of justice but calmly considering the dilemma the opposing parents face.
Her husband Michel is in total agreement at this stage. Claire Evans Argent and Michael Crewe came across as a well matched couple, but with differences of opinion on the horizon, sure to fracture a sweet and safe marriage.
However, it is obvious from the start that the other couple’s marriage is not so stable. Annette Reille, played by Pip Robinson, is fractious, tense, on edge, scared, whilst her husband Alain the lawyer, is distracted and clearly distancing himself from the whole affair, forever on his mobile phone discussing his latest case.
Gradually real feelings are revealed, arguments occur between the couples, the wives, the husbands and with the help of quantities of rum, the whole situation descends into mayhem with tantrums, screaming, vomiting and more.
The adults behave more like the children they have been called upon to defend and protect.