Lost In Translation @ Directors Hotel
7:30pm, Tue 8 Mar 2011
We, the near full-house audience upstairs at the Directors, are looking at a dodgy hotel room.
Vince, big and bearded and sweaty, has just bumped into John, an old high-school friend from a decade ago. John is on the upward swing of success; a film-maker whose time to revel in the spotlight is just moments away, fêted by his peers. Vince has taken a different route through life; he’s now a drug dealer, constantly on edge with the violence of that scene. But they’re old friends, and – after some initial awkwardness – they lapse into a typically male catch-up banter.
But, early on, it’s easy to tell that there’s some friction in the relationship. John, initially, seems oblivious; Vince drops the odd snide comment, snarling at the disparity of their fortunes, and occasionally there’s an oblique comment on an incident in their past. After a couple of comments flitter by seemingly unnoticed, John cottons on and queries Vince’s intent…
…and it’s then that the gloves come off.
Thereafter, Tape is a bruising encounter, the men battering each other with ill-framed recollections and accusations, wrought through jealousy and struggles for power. Far from being the brainless lunk that we first imagine him to be, Vince goads John into owning up to his past sins… John’s not the clean-cut chap that he was initially painted as, either. The arrival of Amy (Jasmine Bates) only escalates the arguments, leading to a very heated finale.
Nick Fagan does sterling work, in both the director’s chair and in the role of Vince – he roams from the dullard bully to the pointed avenger with well managed anger. Arron McDonald is spot-on as John, coming across as a slightly smarmy silver-spooner early and, when realising the corner he’s backed into, fighting like a wildcat.
The latter parts of Tape get a little shouty, but that’s fine – it makes up for some of the unrealistically wordy earlier scenes. Elaborate dialogue aside, Stephen Belber’s script runs along at a good pace, resulting in a suitably compelling experience – and one that I’m certainly glad I got to check out.