Monday, 15 November 2010

The weasel under the cocktail cabinet - Review

The Post Show Party Show sees Michael and Tony Pinchbeck, his father, investigate how the latter met the former’s mother Vivienne, also appearing as their prompt, at a post show party in 1970.

With the original show having been The Sound of Music it is only right that this performance is also shaped around the same soundtrack; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s songs unerringly camp and kitsch with many phrases commonplace are wittily used by the actors – Indeed, how do you solve a problem like Maria? Even the form of the songs is well known and this is expertly subverted in Do-Re-Mi where the performing von Trapps’ rounds of song are transformed into a motif about Tony Pinchbeck’s tongue-tiedness when asking Vivienne whether she needed a lift home. This cleverness pervades the whole event: the Shloer, presented to each entering audience member with a careful insistence that it was sparkling grape juice, is wonderfully observed, encouraging those watching into fully partaking in the pseudo-post show. The man-made mountain too, complete with snow storm, is a lo-tech gem and evokes the same flurry of flakes created in a tourist knick-knack. The presentation of artefacts from both then and now again is a wonderful device to give both worlds a physicality, the simple difference of showing an LP and a CD demonstrates forty years passing very skilfully.

This is a show with great personal depth but is overly complex in its dealings with some of the past-present relationships. The mapping of the Lincoln theatre’s back-stage spaces felt extra, it was impersonal and didn’t translate. It was the memories of personal moments which gave the piece real heart and its core idea, a life created from a meeting where another ended, is genuinely poetic. It is rare to see a show with such a tangible personal link to all involved and this is one which tells this in an interesting and imaginative way, neatly moving between explorations like the record between the tracks or from Do to Re to Me.

In these two shows, which beautifully consider the relationships we have with all those close to us, it is wonderful to see them performed by these small ‘family’ ensembles and even better to watch them together as double-bill. Whilst both do well as stand alone pieces, as a pair they combine to create a special evening which allows you to consider what friends and family have done or will do for you and more personally what you would do for them.

The weasel under the cocktail cabinet ****

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