Theatreview – Dentists Chair: Dare to Confront what you fear the most
Technically, The Dentist’s Chair is an impressive mix of organic theatrical devices such as using Smith’s clarinet as the phone ring, through to precise video imagery to show what’s going on inside a patient’s head. Full credit to technical manager & operator Sean Lynch, and production manager Jeremy Fern, for choosing the right equipment & team, to ensure everything looks and sounds fantastic, and flows so smoothly on the night.
John Verryt’s set includes a natty variation on revolving doors, ingenious use of Skycity Theatre’s mechanist bars to evoke a surgery-like environment, and humorous dental accessories which no doubt take inspiration from how large & dangerous they appear from the patient’s perspective, compared to any instrument of reality.
Lighting designer Jeremy Fern illuminates Verryt’s design well, plus throws the musicians into exquisite pale light. Fern also uses shadow & colour to good effect, as Albert becomes increasingly affected by William Kemmler’s haunting visits. And of course, he reserves the brightest white light for the dentist’s chair.
After a lot of thoroughly entertaining black comedy, there is a poignant moment near the end of the play which genuinely moves me, and exemplifies to perfection what Indian Ink do best: creative story-telling, using their trade-mark commedia theatrical devices and intuitive scripting, to make a unique well-crafted evening of theatre that is as enjoyable in the moment, as it is holistically affecting.
The Dentist’s Chair left me feeling that if you dare to confront what you fear the most, you might just find what you thought you’d lost.