Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Carousel of Fantasies - Review

Had the hills never been alive with the sound of music, Michael Pinchbeck would not have come to be. At least, Michael Pinchbeck would not exist had the County Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society not performed The Sound of Music in November 1970. His father was a Nazi and his mother a nun. His father had one line: “Ulrich, block ze drive-vay.” His mother, it seems, had none. One assumes that it did not make for particularly convincing theatre. Yet as the result of such pretence, something real occurred. For it was at the post show party – just after Arthur Hunter (a guitar-playing Nazi) had keeled over – that his mother and father first kissed.

And so, in 2009, Michael Pinchbeck, 32, takes to the stage with Tony Pinchbeck, sixty going on seventy, to recapture something of that past. Having set the film’s soundtrack in unstoppable motion, the pair work their way through sixteen songs, alternately half-dancing, half-acting, half-re-enacting and lipsyncing. They move stools around the space like checkers and deliver meditative lectures on present and past, absence and presence in the solemn whispers of nature commentators.

For all its pensive contemplation, however, The Post Show Party Show is dragged down by the clumsiness of its meta-theatrics. Pinchbeck seems in so love with the duality of which the stage is capable that he skirts the issue with a mumble where philosophic oration is needed. The absent echoes of 1970 never materialize and, as such, multiplicity collapses into flat monochrome.

Undoubtedly, Pinchbeck shows promise. He handles text with a deft turn of phrase, careful use of repetition and a smidgen of absurdity, but lacks the requisite gutsiness to nail any particular point. The result teeters between the whimsical and the arbitrary. With tightening, volume and some rigorous reflection, The Post Show Party Show could blossom. As it is, however, it lacks the punch to spike.

Carousel of Fantasies

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