IN WHICH OUR GUEST REVIEWER JOHN PETER DOES NOT HAVE A HAPPY NIGHT OUT
Tim Crouch has given us a play which is not a play. It has no
narrative: it does not give you a story; it does not give you characters.
What is a character in a play? It is a person with a past, a person with
intentions, however simple, crude, or naïve, to create something of his
Do you remember HAMLET? His Royal Highness of Denmark summed it all
up when he told his actors that to play in a play was “to hold the mirror up
These words are the most simple, most obvious, but also most profound
summing up of why we need and created the theatre: to see our selves, our
nature and the nature of the world we live in. This is what the theatre
has done from Sophocles, Shakespeare and Moliere to Arthur Miller, Samuel
Beckett, Harold Pinter, David Hare and Lucy Prebble.
Tim Crouch’s play is not such a play. It is a series of theatrical
installations. Here, in a series of short scenes, we are presented with
moments of despair, with moments of dark, grim comedy. Who am I? Why am
I here? Why are we loving or hating each other? Why can’t we be
understood by other people? You are here but you don’t know why: so what
can you make of it?
This “play” is a lecture of unbreakable pessimism decorated with grim
humour. The actors get little opportunity to act: they have little time to
create a character. That is why this “play” has neither beginning nor end.
– JOHN PETER
box office 020 7565 5000; royalcourttheatre.com to 8 July
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