Barber Shop Chronicles: Not yet available - the monkey won't see it until
near the end of the run. Professional reviewers are
unanimous in their praise. 6 barber shops, with music as we move between the
conversations there. A football game provides the link, and local issues as well
as global ones are discussed. There's praise for the immersiveness that begins
as the house opens. More for the spell woven as the globe is embraced. The only
critical comments are that occasionally the conversation feels "forced" as
matters turn, and the Dorfman's acoustic isn't always the best. That
aside, it's a company show with 12 strong roles, tied with a neat reference,
too. Worth seeing, is the verdict.
Mosquitoes: (seen at the afternoon performance on 5th September
2017). Distractions from a Tobelerone aside, this struck the monkey as a real
oddity. The main message is that an organic threat (symbolised by mosquitoes)
will always be greater than that of science to the wellbeing of the human race.
Lucy Kirkwood scales this by pitting the machinations of an unlikely family
against the machines of CERN - the Swiss science centre. Mother (Amanda Boxer, a
stunningly controlled performance) is a retired almost Nobel Laureate stuck in
England with dim family member Jenny (Olivia Colman) as daughter Alice (Olivia
Williams) the bright CERN worker with son Luke (Joseph Quinn - horrible sub
'Kevin The Teenager' performance) and lover Henri (always reliable Yoli Fuller)
live in Switzerland.
We get a rather patronising soap tale of love, loss and teen angst (mention
for Sofia Barclay as Luke's nemesis Natalie) mixed with some suspect pop-up
rambling science The Boson (Paul Hilton, should be scouted for kids' educational
TV) almost sells. The soap stuff is typical "middle class impression of working
class folk" fare, cringing at times. The science doesn't even convince the
speaker - but at least the monkey knows what happened to the "Curious Incident
of the Dog In The Night Time" leftovers...
Rufus Norris manages to keep the baggy 2 hours 30 playing time humming, just
about, while Paule Constable's lighting earns a year's salary by itself. Katrina
Lindsay does a nice job of the set, the simple discs and gliding furnishings
Cuts and a decent dramaturge to do some research into normal life in Luton
could create a tighter focus. As it stands, the idea is interesting but reaches
no conclusion and wanders away from any real impact with an imbalance between
the very science and humanity it wishes to compare. Holds the attention, but
only just, is the monkey verdict.
Beginning: Not available.