Pros: A fun, fast-paced one-act journey through a girl’s emotional self. Thought-provoking yet light-hearted. Live music!
Cons: The acting was generous from all cast but not always well glued together. The direction could be seen as confusing in some transitions.
It’s always a pleasure to arrive at Curtains Up, the pub that hides one of West London’s longest running Fringe venues, the Baron’s Court Theatre. A well crafted pint, sinking in the neighbourhood atmosphere and off I go downstairs. Admittedly, the Tube strike didn’t help the attendance, as on the night of my visit we were just nine comfortably seated patrons. Never mind, there is the lovely sound of a Spanish guitar lifting the spirits. The stage is bare, but does the job. A Spanish railway sign reads ‘Granada’, leaving no doubts as to where we are. Immediately from the opening scenes, it becomes clear that Lemos’ script is no ordinary tale. The Matryoshka girl (Jessica Gonzalez) comes on stage, armed with a Russian doll. She’s adorable throughout, pulling the full range of human emotions with firm intensity. Now her face reads turmoil all over. She screws the doll open and with it unravels the theme of the night. Who are we? I mean who are we, really? Who do others think we are? Okay, I’ll stop with the philosophy right here, but I’m sure you get the idea.
As the show progresses through its 45-minute running time, we are taken on a journey of self-realisation, self-doubt and reunion. Along the way there are a fellow traveller, who seems to read the girl’s soul like no-one else and who perhaps pulls off the most natural acting on stage (David Rawlins), a rather stroppy-mannered and barely credible psychiatrist (Clare Almond), and a nurse-cum-tango-dancer-cum-love-totem (Guy Wilson). They are joined by an amusing Italian gigolo bartender (Adantes Vieira) and a long hated yet unconditionally loved mother (Angela Jimenez). Add a live Spanish guitar background and the scene is set for fun and fantasy.
The script is surreal and thought-provoking. The direction is swift and entertaining, if more than a little confusing at times. But then again, the psychology-heavy theme is not meant to be easily understood. It’s a canvas on which each spectator can paint their own fears and dreams. The girl has become a woman and as she confronts her mother, her doctor and her inner fragility, she will find the courage to face life and curiosity for what will come. And as the doll gets bigger and bigger, so does the girl’s confidence in herself and her longing for a new beginning.
Overall, congratulations to Pathos Theatre for bringing this Latin-flavoured emotional journey to the UK!
Author: David Lemos
Director: Esme Hicks
Producer: Pathos Theatre
Box Office: 020 8932 4747
Booking Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/681490061871830/?source=1
Booking Until: 9th February 2014