Stockwell Playhouse, London – until 2 September 2018
New York playwright Philip Holt’s new play The Peregrine is a thriller set in Argentina where protagonist Paul (Christopher Sherwood) is a fixer of the gun-toting kind. He wears sharp suits and stays in nice hotels and has come a long way from his childhood in the slums from where he was plucked, educated and trained by svengali Memo (Sprague Theobald).
But as he searches for his past will his past catch up with him? Can the fixer be fixed and who fixes the fixer? The play is a game of chess as the chess boards randomly stuck on the piled, packing-crate set pointedly remind us. Paul tries to stay one step ahead of his own mission and one step ahead of that of others – he isn’t the only street-urchin Memo has raised up and trained for less than legal activities.
Holt’s script is at times baggy with metaphor – particularly references to hunting and prey – which does have a tendency to draw out tension rather than add to it. At times the dialogue feels incongruous with the situation; in a world of assassins and wondering who is the next hit, it feels like there is a need to get more quickly to the point.
Sherwood does a good job as the nicely tailored Paul, painting him as a lonely, disconnected man who is only half convinced he is better off that way.
An impressive tango leads to the grand finale which involves a showdown in a hotel but it is a bit too much of a slow burn to make a thriller that truly thrills.