Last night’s London premiere of The Matchbox was flawless.
Written by celebrated Irish playwright and poet Frank McGuinness, there is nothing else involved here but woman and stage as the single character Sal monologues her way through a dazzling one-hour-and-forty-minute script.
We don’t want to tell you what it’s about; it’ll ruin how delicious it is to have it all uncovered in the watching, bit by bit. We will, however, rant and rave about the raw talent of Leanne Best, whose scope for acting is quite phenomenal; her storytelling and ability to incorporate other voices is faultless, and not once throughout the duration does a single word slip. She has the audience captivated from start to finish, both giggling at her charm and hardly breathing at her pauses. It’s quite something to watch someone who relies on nothing but herself to carry her through the play; no other actors to bounce off, and no props but a single box of matches to work with. It’s acting at its very best when just a single person can so completely captivate an audience, with no special effects and no technology.
The script too was beautiful, the story powerful and delivered with pitch-perfect words. This play really is a marriage of the fundamentals of theatre: a phenomenal actor, a brilliant script. Go and see it, for god’s sake – The Matchbox is unadulterated theatre at its best.
The Matchbox is running now at Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn until 1 June, tickets £14-£22. For more information visit the Tricycle Theatre website. Londonist saw this play on a complimentary press ticket.