With a cast of just three, this show sets out to explore crime, judgement and punishment through a trio of separate stories. With a minimal set, the action takes us from film noir to gritty interrogation, each scene leading us into a different, intimate room.
We begin with punishment – though to my mind, the first piece had more of an air of mystery than anything else. Three great crime authors are trapped in a room, somewhere, by someone. As they try to reason and write their way out, we are treated to jokes around each one's life and particular writing style. The comedy and pace of this part work well, and will appeal greatly to fans of the genre.
The second piece, on judgement, sees a naïve suspect wrung through interrogations with a lazy inspector. The inspector believes him guilty, and his defence lawyer doesn't seem very convinced otherwise. You began to feel for the suspect by the end, but there was no real time to build up his character before the scene ended.
Crime, the subject of the third piece, is seen from an interesting angle; the narrator is a murdered private eye. Sadly however, this only added to the confusing plot, and unclear relationship between the other two characters. Starting on a high, it went downhill and couldn't seem to decide what it was trying to be.
The acting was very good; the cast succeed in bringing each scene to life. Laird's command of accents was perhaps the best indication of the scenes and characters changing, while Keane elicited sympathy and laughs as a hapless drunk. Stride plays her parts very well, equally convincing as the demure Christie and the murderous Iris.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about The Boring Room is that each part has potential, but the combination feels unfinished and disjointed. With no piece having a clear conclusion, the links between them are non-existent and there is no flow to the transitions. There are several good ideas here, but it lacks the overall clarity needed to create a well-defined piece.