THEATRE / The Rock Station - Cockpit, London NW8

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The Independent Culture
In the 1942 film Thunder Rock Michael Redgrave played a disillusioned anti-fascist newspaperman who retreated to a lighthouse on Lake Michigan to sit out the war in self-imposed isolation. Naturally, by the end he'd realised that no man is an island, etc, and returned to combat the Nazi menace.

Ger Fitzgibbon's two-hander follows similar lines, but the lighthouse here is a rickety wooden tower - the rock station - off the west coast of Ireland, and the year is 1866. The lighthouse keeper is Peter Scannell (Peter Caffrey), an engineer who designs kerosene lamps. His brother Eddy (Sean Cranitch) arrives unexpectedly; the body of Peter's fellow keeper has been washed ashore with a pouchful of gold; paranoia about Fenian plots is rife, and Eddy is ostensibly worried that any scandal might touch the family. He brings turmoil into the ordered simplicity of Peter's world.

The play's metaphysical aspects aren't entirely integrated into the apparatus of a thriller, and in Abigail Morris's production for Soho Theatre Company, the stage business is perfunctory. Music and sound effects (Emily Fox on electric viola), are ingenious, though, and period feel is achieved by Fitzgibbon and by Tom Piper's impressively detailed set. Overall, a gripping, thoughtful evening.

Box office: 071-402 5081.