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Barbican Cheek by Jowl

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#1 Nicholas


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Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:46 PM

At Silk Street Theatre until next Saturday.  Very interesting, which I mostly mean in a good way.  Presented as the imaginings, I suppose, of a teenager during a family dinner party, where the family and guests become the characters in the play in a manner not unlike the office workers of Gatz, I think to highlight the immaturity of it which it does - the play (and the actors) just fizz with immaturity and no excuse for a fart is missed, mostly not to the detriment of the genuine Shakespearean darkness.  The 'play' is interrupted by occasional returnings to seeming civility with the dinner party - there's one very amusing (but also daft) interruption about pine nuts - which almost all work in a jarring way (the pine nut one I wasn't sure on, happening when it did, though it got a huge laugh).  Indeed, lots of real belly laughs throughout as well as the opposite (the lady next to me, bless her, squirmed at one filmed eye-and-spoon related bit).  The situation and its relatability makes a striking contrast to the play they 'perform' with whatever props are at hand (brilliantly inventive, never contrived).  Fab colour palette.  All that said, the opening, where the boy films his family get ready, is initially interesting but gets a bit tiresome when he zooms in on something scatological AGAIN (and clearly someone in the team's a vegetarian or the meat wouldn't be filmed as disgustingly as it was), and then the half an hour (so it felt, only really ten minutes) of the parents waiting for guests and chatting in inaudible French was absolutely interminable.  Very good cast but the real stars are the creative team behind it, though it's not perfect by any means.  I think I like this more now in retrospect than I did at the Barbican.

P.S.  For Silk Street Theatre regulars, is leg space a problem?  I felt fine during the play but since then my ankle's been hurting quite a lot and I don't know if that's something else or I didn't notice being cramped.

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