The film Reservoir Dogs comes to mind when watching Occam’s Chainsaw, and given that the film is a favourite of mine, I had high hopes for Airborne Theatre’s crime-influenced performance. Things certainly started well, with a gripping concept and talented cast – so you can understand my disappointment when the characters got tangled in a desperately unclear plot.
The basis of the story is that five criminals have committed the perfect crime, yet when they reach the designated meeting point, one of them hasn’t arrived. It's obvious that they’re a traitor; when their boss is introduced into the mix, we’re thrust into the world of a deeper crime organisation and questions start to arise. Or at least… that’s what I believe was shown to us.
I’m afraid to say that I didn't quite get it – specifically, the ending. And I believe the reason for that is that the pacing is askew. Some parts dragged, while other bits erupted into hasty action that left me retracing the plot to figure out what had happened.
Character development is done well; the relationships are fleshed out during the performance, but on the other hand there was little progress in terms of storyline. I appreciate that you don’t need dense, plot-heavy dialogue all through a play – but nonetheless, when things got serious, it all felt like nonsensical shouting.
If these elements hadn’t let it down, Occam’s Chainsaw could have been a highly enjoyable show. It has promise: the cast members are dedicated to their roles, firmly establishing their characters and delivering some wonderful performances. But the script isn't articulate enough to guide us through the overwhelming ending. It's a shame, but I left with more questions than I had when I arrived.