Pros: The absurdity of it all will make you giggle on occasion and the enthusiasm of the cast is electric.
Cons: Difficult to follow as it doesn’t appear to have much of a plot. The laughter from the audience sometimes felt forced, and seemed due to sheer awkwardness.
The Same But Different are a unique theatre company made up of five cast members called The Chancellor, Tarzan Boy, The Economy, Gylligan The Traveller and What is Edd?. In their production Starring James Franco they explore the celebrity obsessed society we live in today.
The shows begins with footage of James Franco from interviews and films being projected onto the back of the set. This is followed by The Chancellor reading out a letter he has written to the actor inviting him to take part in their production, the aptly titled Starring James Franco.
The cast rehearses for opening night without Franco, though they quickly recognise that the show doesn’t work without its guest of honour. Two other letters are read out by other members of the cast, asking Franco to hurry to London in order to perform with them. They quickly realise that he isn’t going to reply, and start making excuses for why he has failed to turn up – perhaps he’s sick? The focus on celebrity is key to the production and is reflective of today’s society. Newspaper stands are filled with celebrity magazines and each news website has a section dedicated entirely to ‘Showbiz’ news. And although the production stalls because of the missing Franco, all of the cast members are still as obsessed with him at the end as they were at the beginning, thus emphasising the dark side of fandom.
The set is simple and bare, with photos of James Franco taped all over the walls of the theatre. The whole production is very surreal and strange, and I had no idea what was going on through most of it, but this is what makes this company unusual. They aren’t afraid to be different and that in itself deserves respect.
Created and performed by: The Same But Different
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run.