And All These Sleepless Nights will Explode Tomorrow is a dark comedy recently nominated for Best New Writing at the Buxton Fringe. As a crack appears in the road between the luxury flats and the social services hostel, the minds of the dead are seeping out of this crack to populate the living…
The bizarre scene is set with a unblinking and staring Hinton looking out into the audience a the front of the stage. The typed ‘programme’ as well gives some indication of the madness to come. A short video detailing ‘Enid’s Secret’ opens events before we burst into this eccentric mashup between Jeremy Kyle and Paradise Lost.
Over the course of the following hour, Hinton’s monologue takes on chavs and tramps, social workers, death and a love that just will not die in a spiralling story concerning several interlinked characters.
You cannot possibly doubt Hinton’s innovation in his characters and portrayal. An exhausting myriad of scenes and situations are brought to life by his energetic persona. His physical nuances bring each and every character to life. Hinton is a very captivating man to watch as he contorts his face and body into those of his characters. Subtle lighting changes and a bare stage add to the strange atmosphere.
Unfortunately, despite some genuinely funny moments, and some witty one-liners, the whole is difficult to quantify. My mistake was in trying to follow the performance rather than just go with it. Hinton’s speed and complexity is tricky, and high on impossible to follow at times.
Part of this is down to the mythology he has created. A densely packed narrative to fit into the hour running time, it could never be as developed as Hinton is aiming for. Uncomfortable moments surrounding reincarnation as children do not exactly help either. Neither drama, nor comedy, it sits awkwardly poised somewhere between the two. The unconventional flow of the narrative hinders expectations as well. I can see the value of having all of these characters in it as all the characters reflect or comment on the state of society – but I think the narrative would benefit from excising a couple of them.
There is much in common with his One Play, One Day performance here, in the seeds of a good idea are sown, but the whole lacks in cohesion. This said, there are some genuinely witty moments within – a man mown down by a truck is described as a ‘Jackson Pollock on the pavement’, but then it veers into the utterly surreal.
The highlight of the piece is his demonic and sinister Mr. Robinson who continually pops up to offer our characters various options on their death. His silky smoothness a refreshing tonic to the manic voices screaming elsewhere.
Hinton’s work is rightly respected – for those in tune with what he is trying to say, or who are there for the journey rather than the story, I think they will have much to enjoy. I can see why this would have been nominated for best new writing as well – its ambitious and relentless for the audience. For me, it is much harder to actually figure out how much I actually appreciated. Remarkable, stomach churning and perplexing in equal manner – you don’t get that every day.
The Fiction Stroker gives And All These Sleepless Nights will Explode Tomorrow three strokes out of five: