Tristan Bates Theatre, London – until 17 August 2019
Part of Camden Fringe
Darkness, lamplight and creaking wood transport us out of the Tristan Bates and back in time, to a ship called the Geminus. The Geminus is an atmospheric new play by Ross Dinwiddy and is based on Joseph Conrad’s novella The Secret Sharer. By incorporating a romantic twist, Dinwiddy creates an emotional centre to the piece, which is so important when translating prose to the stage.
John Black is convincing as The Geminus’ new captain Hotson, young and out of his depth, finding himself in charge of a ship, with the danger of mutiny an ever-present reality.
Gareth Wildig brings an intensity and passion to the mysterious Leggatt, which makes Hotson’s decision to help him all the more believable, even after he has openly admitted to killing a man. It definitely didn’t hurt that you could cut the sexual tension with a knife.
I adore Christine Kempell’s humorous and energetic Ma Gwen. I could well believe she could command a ship, at a time when women simply weren’t allowed to do that sort of thing.
Robert Cohen’s Skeres is a reassuring presence, someone who adheres to the established order of command, even as his crewmates eye their new captain with suspicion. Ben Baeza as Frizer personifies the doubts and concerns of the crew. It often feels as if he is the real threat on the Geminus, not the killer Leggatt.
Through the trajectory of the play, we see Hotson grow into his captainship. An evolution that is shaped by the dual influences of Leggatt and Frizer.
The Geminus is a thoughtful adaptation of ‘The Secret Sharer’. It oozes with atmosphere, holding the tension throughout, before escalating into the inevitable violent climax.
A must-see for fans of Joseph Conrad, The Geminus runs at the Tristan Bates theatre until Saturday 17th August
‘A must-see for fans of #JosephConrad’: @thelastressort relishes the tense atmosphere in @RossDinwiddy’s #Geminus page-to-stage adaptation for @BlueDevilTheat at @TristanBates. #CamdenFringe #newwriting #OffWestEnd