Review- Underneath The Lintel- Stylus Productions


By Dakota Duclo


Three and a half stars



This will be fairly brief and straight forward: One-man shows are challenging. As taxing as performing with others can be, building an aesthetic with the audience on one’s presents very different obstacles entirely. Under the Lintel is currently making its run at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, and granting certain considerations to our leading (only) actor, Adam Harris shows that he can hold the stage in spite of other restricting factors. 



Under the Lintel follows the global journey of a Dutch librarian who appears to be obsessed and intent on finding an individual who has anonymously returned a 113-year overdue library book in Holland. At first glance, this may seem a less than intriguing plot as something like this can be very limiting on how it can be staged. It is however presented in the format of our lone character giving a lecture to the audience. This essentially gives the production a similar parallel to stand-up comedy, although slightly more structured as it’s told as a story with a narrative; ergo beginning, middle, and end. Armed with a simplistic set only consisting of a table, black-board, and projector to screen to serve the audience with some imagery, Adam Harris certainly has his work cut out for him in a production that requires an abundance of energy, enthusiasm, and charisma in order to keep the audience engaged for the entire duration.



Though this play provides us one character to follow it still is undoubtedly a play, and so the moving parts that make up a stage play must still coincide with one another to make a ‘well-oiled machine’. This feat was not quite met, as outside factors only played against the seasoned Mr. Harris. The technical cues often felt late or inconsistently executed. The sound and music were at times too loud and distracting, taking away from what the actor was doing or saying, and from even what the projector screen was showing during those moments. Many of the added technical aspects also at times felt unnecessary and/or unneeded, which gave a feeling of the sound and lighting being overused whilst giving no real effect to the overall production. In the interest of keeping a play like this fresh and engaging, it’s not difficult to understand why there may be a desire to do anything and everything to give the show some variety, and so these issues can certainly be forgiven. Forgiven, just not be forgotten.



Regardless and with dismissing these observations as trivial, there’s no denying the capability and sheer aptitude of Adam Harris’ raw acting ability. His Netherland accent was consistent and solid. His physicality was subtle and yet exciting. His emotions were heightened, and his objectives were clearly on full display. Being that this is a one-man show, one begs to question what this production would’ve been like without him guiding the ship. He has the range, both physically and psychologically to drive the plot and keep the audience bound to his every word. Harris not only has the ‘know-how’, but he also has the wit, ad-libbing when appropriate and providing the audience with comedic call-backs in expert fashion.



So as not to go into too much further detail, one can simply say this show is not a “what you see, is what you get” production; it is much more than that. Several underlying themes don’t immediately showcase it as just black and white. There’s simplicity, but there is also depth. There are religious undertones, and there’s also just pure ideology, which does not always necessarily go hand in hand. If your M.O. is to be spoon-fed, this is not the play for you. If you desire to be challenged and tasked with “thinking”, then do be sure to buy a ticket before the run closes. 


For more information about this production click here

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 4.2


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