"Raw, honest, heart-wrenchingly beautiful production"
by Eleni Young for remotegoat on 19/06/14

A carefully lit black stage, three actors and Roger in his living room. As the audience find their way to their seats, chewing on sweets, balancing coats, programmes and drinks in their hands, Roger sits in his chair quietly. His tiny TV propped up with a few old books, glowing images shine out of the TV while Roger watches, smoking a cigarette, breathing, scratching the chair. All marvellously controlled by Nicholas Halliwell, truly bringing this puppet, Roger, to life.

The production starts at the end with Graham Dron giving his confession. We know what’s happened, the echoing “Could you kill someone Billy?” still ringing in your ears. We don’t need to be told, we already know what’s happened. Through Billy’s confession we see the events leading up to the present.

Killing Roger is a production based around Billy and Roger and the relationship that grows from what was once a mandatory college program visit, to unlikely friends. Becoming something of an unconventional ‘mentor’ to Billy, Roger gives him advice by talking about his own life. Dark, funny and honest, Roger’s memories come to life, leaving the audience in the palm of his hand.

The stage itself was split in two. One half, the stark police station interview room/mum’s house, and Roger’s homely living room. A great use of space, the set up really brings you into Billy’s world. However, the to-ing and fro-ing between police station to living room so frequently in the beginning, almost takes away the simplicity and the contrast between the two. For me personally, this made it difficult to really relate to Billy and to really grasp what was trying to be said. But as the performance went on the smoother the direction became and the dialogue flowed naturally.

Hats off to Louisa Ashton who switched roles throughout, aiding as puppeteer, police woman, Mum, Sheila and even Roger’s young sweetheart. Switching between each character effortlessly, Louisa Ashton and Nicholas Halliwell worked superbly together managing Roger the puppet. Two puppeteers trying to make one puppet move so naturally cannot be an easy challenge.

Sparkle and Dark’s ambitious production around the issue of euthanasia was not only brave, but incredibly well written and performed. Not many theatre companies can tackle such a serious and heart wrenching issue with such passion and talent. The proof? There was not a dry eye in the house, mine included.

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