Shifting Sands, The Deadline

Review in Issue 20-3 | Autumn 2008

The Deadline bills itself as ‘Clown Noir’ – a theatre-clown celebration of Film Noir. True to the Noir genre, we have a plot riddled with twists and turns – but as this is Clown Noir, things are pushed as far as they can go, with enough red herrings and gasp-shock denouements to confuse and stun even the most diehard Dashiell Hammett fan.

The plot circles around a cheeky-chappy postman who gets tangled up in the spidery web of dastardly deceit weaved by a double- or maybe even triple-crossing femme fatale he encounters when delivering a Very Important Letter (and yes, the postman always knocks twice). It is claimed that when giving advice to thriller writers, Raymond Chandler once said: if in doubt, send a man through a door with a gun – advice that The Deadline’s writer/co-deviser Andy Barrett and director Gerry Flanagan seem to have taken to heart, although when it comes to gun play they make it clear that the female is indeed the deadlier of the species.

Of course, we expect spot-on clown / physical theatre work from Shifting Sands, and that is indeed what we get. It’s great to see Gerry Flanagan himself treading the boards, magnificent as ever (playing a whole raft of foils to our two main characters), but he’s well-matched by his co-performers Ellie Harley and Ian Street. The final member of the creative team is designer Julian Hanby, whose minimal but clever set includes a surreal and unsettling freestanding door. Well, as Chandler said: if in doubt…

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-3
p. 34