"TOYER", the play

Toyer, a thriller by Gardner McKay
The offical presentation of the play:

There's a serial killer on the loose.

When a charming stranger appear at psychiatrist Maude's appartment late one night, an innocent encounter soon becomes a sexually charged battle of wits.Is he "the Toyer", the sadist who lobotomizes his female victims, or merely a playful admirer? In this dangerous game of cat and mouse, Maude must either outwit her adversary or suffer a diabolical fate...

With a chilling lead character to rival Hannibal Lecter in Silence of Lambs, this exhilarating psychological thriller received its London premier at the newly opended Arts Theatre (London).

My preview...

14th march 2009,

I was in London
to see Gardner McKay's


At The Arts Theatre Club, Great Newport St.

Preview February, 16th 2009
Opening Night, February 25th 2009

Last show was originally planned
for April 11th
but closed on 21st March 2009

I had already liked the book, and I was curious how the story could fit in a play.

The setting is in Maude's house, somewhere in the suburbs of Los Angeles. The expected psychiatric couch is on the left of the stage and an american type kitchen corner on the right frames a long opaque glass wall with sliding doors giving the illusion of some fragile safety from the unknown, outside world. To enhance the spooky atmosphere, the moon showed its pale white gloomy reflection on the ceiling.

With satisfaction, the story condensed to two pratagonists gives a stronger impact to the thriller scheme. The tilt between Peter, the Toyer and Maude, the psychiatrist, was always captivating with no pause, except the erotic silhouettes behind the opaque windows when I thought there could be an interlude (the show is suitable for ages 14+...). But the fact that it's in one act is well understandable to keep the crescendoed tension till the climax end when the twist in the plot is revealed to the audience.

I particularly liked the playing of Al Weaver. This young actor has indeed a much easier role than his counterpart Alice Krige, the apparent victim of Toyer's frame-up. Al Weaver brings much density by expressing, sometimes with humour, but always with strength, how witty and wicked is Toyer.

I very much liked how Gardner has given the "beau role" to the demoniac and somewhat pervert Toyer. On the other end of the sparring match, I take that Alice Kriege had to give a more shadow like character to enhance the part of Peter, alias Toyer.

Watching the play helped me to approach a little further in Gardner's world.
In that respect, I'm looking forward to read "Journey Without a Map"!


20th march 2009

The cast :

Al Weaver (Peter): Trained at the Guildhall School of Drama, this young actor performed in many stage works such as How to Cursen Waltz of The Toreadors, Malvolio an His Masters, Coram Boy, What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks and All The Ordinary Angels.
His films: Me and Orson Wells, Marie Antoniette, Colour Me Kubrick, Doom, The Merchant of Venice.TV credits: BBC's six parter PA's, Five Days, Viva Blackpool, Planespotting, Inspector Lynley and most recently in Channel 4's The Devel Whore.

Alice Krige (Maude) : Played Cornelia in King Lear at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982, Miranda with Sir Derek Jacobi in The Tempest and Roxanne in Cyrano De Bergerac, and Cornelia in the Taming of the Shrew.
Acclaimed in her starring role in the Academy Award winning film Chariots of Fire, she played in Ghost Story, King David, Haunted Summer, Barfly, See You in the Morning. Also Start Trek: First Contact with Patrick Stewart, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, Falling. Loneley Hearts with John Travolta and Skin with Sam Neill and Sophie Okenedo.

A few links:
Official London Theatre Guide

The Arts Theatre Club, London

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