NOMINATED, THE STAGE BEST ACTOR 2001: "A thoroughly uncompromising examination of moral and legal justice ... It resists the lure of sentimentalism, and you are freed of the obligation to empathise, unless you can't help it ... Utton's engaging, empassioned and equally committed performance of both characters will have you thinking more than once." (The Stage)
"with Resolution, his deceptively subtle one-man exploration of crime and punishment, he takes us to the emotional brink again. ...an impressively well-structured piece of theatre. ...a series of cleverly wrought objections... The production itself is characterised by a simplicity and precision that we have come to expect of director Guy Masterson. ... Uttons script is shaped into a splendidly cohesive whole which is as compelling as the actor/playright's extraordinary performance" (Scotland on Sunday)
"Pip Utton's play has real guts. In the space of an hour, the writer and actor took us from suburbia to hell... starkly effective... Mr Utton's performance was gripping, open and raw. Simply and effectively directed by Guy Masterson, Resolution is more than worth an hour of your time." (Mail on Sunday)
"Writer and performer Pip Utton plays with the audience like a cat with a mouse ... Devastating and unforgettable." (The Guardian)
"CRIME pays ... Pip Utton's new one-man play, performed by himself, tackles this ... Here one can understand the first-hand rage of the father if not the name-and-shame thuggery that is its extreme conclusion." (The Herald)
"Pip Utton brilliantly dissects this modern moral dilemma in a one-man show... succinctly conveying the duality of this tragedy... he presents reasonable men, average individuals with whom we empathise, and examines the paths they take and the motives which drive them there.... very much worth seeing." (Edinburgh Evening News)
CRITICS CHOICE"a dazzling collaboration between writer and performer Pip Utton and director Guy Masterson starkly brings to light contemporary conundrums ... no strangers to Edinburgh Fringe acclaim and this production does not disappoint ... The play is brilliant for its apparent simplicity. Never preaching, avoiding sensation, it goes straight to the jugular with brutal realism." (The Scotsman)
This idea was inspired by a newspaper story in Northern Ireland. It is not about that story, but it is my attempt to express the passionate response that I - and doubtless many others - felt upon reading it. To say more would give it away.
I believe that theatre has many roles to play, one of them being to challenge the complacency of our thoughts. If in any way theatre can persuade an audience to think about and debate issues, then it can achieve as much as I hope. I try not to pretend to have answers, but I do feel the need to ask questions. I hope that this is a need that my audience shares.
Of course, The most useful key on the keyboard is "Delete". Whole chunks of what has taken weeks to write can disappear at the touch of the button and vanish into computer ether. A good director - and Guy is a very good one - can take what is left, add to it, mould it, and hone it, until the words that remain illuminate the original idea as clearly as is possible.
My belief is that the result of mine and Guy's collaboration is a challenging and thought provoking work of theatre. There is nothing clever about it, nothing contrived; it is intended as an honest revelation of emotions, doubts and fears that few people are forced to face, but all of us have to confront if we are to be true to ourselves. Pip Utton
Mr Utton seems to come to me when he has a bright idea for a contentious work. He produces his populist stuff himself, but the heavy stuff, he sends it to me... Why? You may well ask... Perhaps it's because I seem to revel in all that stuff. It inspires me. Over the last seven years I have developed a taste for theatre that is not merely entertainment, but also a powerful means of communicating issues that one can otherwise push to the back of the mind, or safely ignore. I like to put my audience in the presence of people or situations that they might otherwise not face.
Of course, this can be entertaining as well as illuminating or challenging, such as the story of Zelda Fitzgerald in Bye Bye Blackbird or Richard Burton in Playing Burton, or Animal Farm & Shylock... But it can also be frightening, provocative and dangerous as in Adolf, All Words For Sex and A Soldier's Song. Resolution fits in to this category.
I won't give the game away, so to speak. Suffice it to say, Pip has written a piece that again makes us face a situation that we are very unlikely ever to be in, but one that we are more than very aware of... particularly at the moment.
We can always turn the TV off and we can turn the page of the newspaper, but in the theatre, once one has sat in one's seat, convention all but forces one to sit there. If it's bad, of course, one has the option of walking out. But if it's good and/or compelling whilst also being challenging, one is likely to stay, go through the wringer with the artistes, and come out having safely experienced something powerful.
Our aim is not to preach - certainly not to the converted - as most theatre enthusiasts might like to think of themselves! - but to make my theatre a place where one can get more than through the two dimensions of the TV or the Silver Screen. Guy Masterson