Devised and directed by New Theatre stalwart Andy McNamee, this play arrived at the Fringe announcing itself as “a gangland dream where up seems down, left seems right, and sometimes things don’t work out the way they were supposed to.” The description was fitting: confusion, mistaken identity and frustrated plans abound as choppy scene changes and more murders than you might consider feasible in 45 minutes ensure a high tempo is maintained throughout. The play would have benefited from a longer slot and more versatile staging: whilst the short scenes and corridor-esque stage, its boundaries defined by the audience encroaching on either side, conveyed the concept of multiple settings and constant movement effectively, at times the heavy editing employed meant the script felt circumcised and the characterization stifled. Nonetheless, Will Vickers gave a standout performance as Lipson, the highly-strung ganglord, making the most of a witty and off-kilter script that kept the audience laughing despite its occasional over-reliance on in jokes. Sophie Burgess supported Vicker’s psychotic performance adeptly in her role as his hard faced accomplice, and Tom Warren’s depiction of the put upon hitman Tufnell was suitably agitated and unnerved. The capabilities of the rest of the cast for strong emotional performances shone, and juxtaposed nicely with the comedic elements of the script. However, the opportunity for deeper characterization that a longer allocation of stage time would have allowed was longed for.
Over its month long run, ‘Warehouse 364’ regularly attracted double the audience of the average Fringe performance, and deservedly so. However, McNamee’s talent for translating filmic concepts to the theatrical stage was not fully realised this time, as his action packed script suffered under the pressure of time constraints.