“Bane” by Joe Bone

at Warwick Arts Centre, Thursday 23rd June 2011

One man shows are notorious for sagging in the middle. A singular actor can find it difficult to sustain energy for the full length of the play and hold the audience’s attention. Not for Joe Bone, who, throughout his sixty-minute performance manages to do both while flitting between a multitude of characters, creating something spectacular regardless of its minimalism.

The storyline of Bane is much like that of many spy thrillers you’ll have witnessed in the past. Taking inspiration from film and graphic novels, Bone’s creation follows the detective Bruce Bane attempting to solve a mystery. The plot isn’t much, granted, but it’s what is done with it that makes this production so remarkable.

I have never seen multi-roling quite like it. Bone can happily portray a scene involving a handful of characters while managing to convey the narrative. The precision with which he moves makes it clear who we are watching at any given point, and his physicaility is effortless.

Accompanied by a live guitar soundtrack played by Ben Roe, Bane is real drama without ever taking itself too seriously. I worry somewhat that many of the film references went straight over my head, but that’s no doubt down to my ignorance rather than Bone’s lack of clarity. If you want a masterclass in playing multiple characters at the same time, get yourself along to Bane at the next opportunity.

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