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Those Powerful Machines is a new play about sex, power, and semtex.

Roddy, an Irishman, lives alone in a suburb of London in the mid 1990s, nursing his wounds and building machines for his own strange purposes. Trace, an English night-club hostess, joins him for a session of Sunday evening bondage. They are rudely interrupted by Clanger, another Irishman, agitated and disheveled, who knows too much about Roddy’s past and has a demand that will jolt Roddy out of his amnesiac purgatory and bring him back shockingly into the now.

A play of the clash between genders, about control and desire, about the struggle to let go of the past, it is bound to keep audiences thinking long after the powerful machines have stopped running.

Starring Thomas Farrell, Rachel Rath and Steve Gunn

Those Powerful Machines
The physically crippled Roddy (Thomas Farrell) and the emotionally damaged Trace (Rachel Rath) arrange for a tryst in a poky flat that will allow both to retain control over their sexual desires, and also exorcise demons from the past. On he verge of consummation, they are interrupted by Clanger (Steve Gunn), an old associate of Roddy’s, who has urgent need of his bomb making expertise. Set in London in the mid-1990s, Arnold Thomas Fanning’s drama is a compellingly poignant exploration of the consequences of sexual and psychological violence. The director, Graham Cantwell, fosters a claustrophobic mood, with Farrell setting the tone vividly, a study in brooding menace despite his physical infirmity. It takes a combination of Rath’s quaint Englishness and Gunn’s amiable sloppiness, however, to counterbalance the intensity; otherwise the production could very easily tip over into parody. Pitted with pitch-black humour, this ostensibly raw scream of frustrated passion is, in fact, a tender meditation on whether the head or the heart is the most powerful machine we possess.
Declan Burke
The Sunday Times
September 2008

Images (Click to enlarge)



Thomas Farrell with his machine

Those Powerful Machines
Directed by Graham Cantwell
Written by Arnold Thomas Fanning
Produced by Yvonne Ussher and Geraldine McAlinden



Copyright © Graham Cantwell
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