Philip K. Dick has an encounter with two FBI agents – but what is their agenda?
After the bleak seriousness of much of this season of Dangerous Visions, it’s a treat to have a play at which you can laugh out loud. Stephen Keyworth gives us something which works both for fans of Dick’s work (who will spot the many subtle and not so subtle allusions to his writing which are littered throughout) and for those who like a literate screwball comedy drama.
The play is based on a “factual” incident – in 1955, Dick and his wife Kleo received a visit from FBI agents, and according to his biography, they befriended one of them. That’s turned into a labyrinth of shifting loyalties and stories which are too fantastical to be real, until they turn out to be the truth – or a variant thereof. Keyworth gives events a Dick-like twist and you need to be listening carefully throughout to everything provided by director Sasha Yevtushenko to pick up the clues: not just the dialogue but the source music and the background sounds…
Kyle Soller as Phil, and Edward Hogg as Scruggs – one of the agents, the Georges of the title – have the majority of the scenes and make the sometimes outlandish propositions seem almost reasonable… at least until the rug is pulled out yet again.
Verdict: A neat sidestep from the dystopian disasters. 8/10
The next Dangerous Vision is The Martian Chronicles, on June 21 at 2.30 p.m.