One thing there is no question about is that Upton is a gifted writer. Kelly's quirky neighbours, for instance, are acutely and hilariously observed. There is virtuoso work from Colin R Campbell as Temple, and from Steven Payne as the neighbour, an actor whose straight ahead playing shines like a beacon of light in Upton's murky world.
Bonnie Greer - Time Out 19-26/4/1996
A black dustbin-liner full of video-casettes is the main prop in Sophie Boyack's Temple at the Orange Tree Room at the moment. By sifting through these cam-corder memories of family life the agitated character of Temple tries to give his niece, Kelly, a fuller understanding of her mother who has left after an argument. Comprehension is not a simple task. Either for Kelly or the audience who are never given a clear frame in this pause-pushing drama.
Temple, ironically, given his name, is anything but full of peace and repose. He is described as a "colour-blind electrician, rewiring brain circuits," and talking to him plays havoc with the mind. It is like "letting a kitten loose in a wool shop."
His analysis of human feelings through video-tape (creatively illustrated by two dancers) is too much for homely neighbours, Laura and Joe, played excellently by Amanda Crossley and Steven Payne. Laura is a sweet but dizzy Northern housewife not unlike Victoria Wood's comic simpleton while Joe is the strong, silent type. Both would prefer tuning in to 'Coronation Street' aid finding an appropriate colour scheme for their borne. But Temple makes Kelly intent on grasping at his ton in the wool shop as she tries to interpret whether her mother loves her or not. As Kelly Lisa D'Agostina is superb as the sensitive and super vulnerable wheel-chair bound young girl.
She plays a central part, ably supported by Colin R. Campbell as Temple, in what is a deeply absorbing play. It is complex - but the process of unravelling is made more rewarding in trying to understand the essence of the drama.
It might even prompt you to go twice.
Alex Duff - Richmond Times
Funny, a hint farcical and of times disturbing, Temple is the tale of a mildly eccentric man facing the disintegration of his sense of identity. Colin R. Campbell plays a convincing lead role as Temple who, following the disappearance of his beloved sister, is left to look after her teenage daughter, Kelly (Lisa D'Agostina). A tumultuous time ensues for all, including Laura and Joe (Amanda Crossley and Stephen Payne) the wacky neighbours downstairs, who arrive on the scene and soon become mixed-up in Temple's fanatical obsession with home videos. But Temple's behaviour takes an unexpected twist when his obsession for his sister begins to grow more and more surreal...
Set 'in the round' and drawn from a wide variety of arts media including dance, classical theatre and a high calibre of mime, Temple Is slickly directed by young, critically-acclaimed director Sophie Boyack, and promises a refreshing and entertaining experience.
Louise Boltman - Ms London 18/4/1995
Shoe-fetishism is just one of the peculiar practices' inhabiting the darker reaches of Judy Upton's dramatic imagination. Her last play, the award-winning Ashes and Sand, unravelled ,around a rotten policeman's stiletto collection. Temple, a darkly eloquent, excavation of basic family values, is carefully arranged around conflicting claims on a pair of black leather boots.
Tracking the twisted relationship between the eponymous Temple and his disabled niece Kelly, Upton picks at notions of perspective with a bleak wry wit. What, she elliptically asks, does it mean to step into another person's boots? As Temple tricks through assorted home movies and family photographs in an increasingly surreal attempt to find the key to other people's emotions, the consequences of different ways of seeing, mismatched desire and familial neglect are grimly revealed.
Upton's writing is seeped in minutely observed detail and infused with an oblique psychological accuracy that gives it a compelling, jagged edge. At times her narrative contortions are difficult to follow and some of the dialogue needs fine tuning . At her best, though, she evokes a strangely affecting world brought into sharp focus in Sophie Boyack's production which delicately exploits the play's tonal variations and leaves us the right amount to the mind's eye. Colin R Campbell as the scavenging Temple stands out from an impressive cast.
Kate Stratton - The Independent 19/4/1995
[Everlasting Rose] [Ashes and Sand] [Temple] [The Shorewatchers' House] [Bruises] [Stealing Souls]
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