Temper @ Three Minute Theatre, Manchester, 24 Jul
In an everyday drama that explores an all too common problem in the world – depression – Calum is trapped by his circumstances in a dingy flat in Oldham, with nosey neighbour Mick living below and an argumentative couple living above. After breaking up with his girlfriend Debs by leaving a message on her answerphone, he is ready to vanish – possibly for good.
Taran Knight plays irritating neighbour Mick to perfection. Repeating every meaningless story to every character, Knight is not only endearingly funny but he typifies Calum’s monotonous life to a tee. Andrew Madden’s portrayal of Calum feels realistic, and you're rooting for him to do the right thing for himself. Jane Leadbetter’s Debs has every right to be bitter and irritated by the whole situation, and she has some strong scenes of pitied anger towards Madden.
Some neat lighting effects and dingy decoration sell the uncomfortable nature of the flat, as does the (at times comedic) muffled shouting from the occupants above. As paranoia and depression take hold of Calum, it’s all he can do to get up in the morning and carry on. The story is not an overly complex or unusual one, yet, given its relatively short running time, it delves into just enough detail to get its point across.
With Temper, writer Richard O’Neill has done well to craft a promising script and carve out well-defined characters that resonate across a spectrum of viewers in one of 24:7’s more successful plays this year.