Sunday, September 24, 2006
We went to see this last night. Maybe I'm getting old, and can't pick up on subtexts in plays as well as I used to be able to, but see where it says this in the blurb for the play? Almost none of that was communicated to me. There was too much telling, not enough showing. There was too much running about and physical business that appeared to just be there for the sake of it, to show off the actors' ability to run about and do business, and to break up what otherwise would have been quite a lot of "and then he said..." "of course what he didn't know was..." and so on, which surely could have been put together differently.
That said, this is a beautifully performed five-hander. At one point, in fact, I was wondering if there had been a sixth person on stage because I thought I remembered one, but there is not. The acting is superb too, and the involvement and culpability of the audience is very deftly handled. Costumes, set, all spot on. Okay, I know that's usually what you praise when there's nothing else to praise, but in this case the set is actually quite a big deal, because it managed to communicate Art Deco luxury using only a couple of well put-together pieces, which isn't easy to do. Some of it is also very funny, and because you're kind of in the story, you have (well, certainly I had) no problem going "ewww" out loud when one of the characters started being especially lewd.
This is perfect theatre for middle-aged people who want to go to the theatre and feel like they've seen something terribly daring, when in fact they haven't really. I just wish more effort had been put into the writing. A really skilled comedy writing team could do something really excellent with this material and this cast. It could have been a huge hit, instead of there being only 19 people there on a Saturday night in the Sam Beckett. Ah well.