The King’s Arms, Manchester – until 8 July 2017
Only this morning has a precautionary evacuation taken place at Manchester Airport. Triggered by a ‘potential issue with a bag’ in terminal three, the bomb disposal team were called on reports of the suspicious package.
Airport security, and indeed national security couldn’t be a more relevant theme and forms the basis of Big Liars Theatre Co‘s debut production, The B Word.
In this new immersive one-man show, the audience are encouraged to get to know Dan, a Manchester Airport security officer, while he eats his butties and shares his doughnuts on his tea break. Under Grace Cordell‘s perceptive directorial debut, The B Word is interactive from the outset. On entering the intimate studio space, audience members are frisked and sternly directed to their seats, before assuming the role of Dan’s trainee security coworkers. An atmospheric soundscape by Mikey Ridley incorporates an airport style PA announcement asking us to ensure that all liquids are placed in clear plastic bags.
Writer and performer Ryan Gilmartin is confident and charismatic as security officer Dan, a 22-year-old university drop-out, trainee Jedi – he cares for his mother who has MS, doesn’t like mushrooms and has vivid dreams about a girl called Asia. He talks about his co-worker and friend Good Cop fondly although we never meet him.
A promising writing debut, Gilmartin’s monologue is carefully crafted and well paced – as the layers are ripped away, it becomes evident that not everything is as it first appears. What starts out as a series of playful musings over doughnuts in a staff room, soon takes a darkly disturbing confessional turn. Left with a big decision to make and a limited amount of time, will Dan do the right thing? And how do the audience, his trainee coworkers feel now that they hold his sinister secret and are complicit in his decision?