Pros: An able cast fighting a script that just won’t loosen up.
Cons: An impenetrable script feels more like a biology lecture as it fails to build on a promising idea. The racket caused by the air conditioning also undermines the dramatic impact in an otherwise excellent pub venue.
A word to the wise folks, don’t google Tiresia because the first match is a spoiler of the highest order. The publicity material does, however, create a more intriguing premise. The title character is an enigmatic artist recovering from a serious road accident and faces a challenge both to her identity and sexuality. She undergoes a unique transformation, which questions the notions of memory, personality and evolution. OK, so now I’m interested, but this is big stuff, possibly too big for a 90-minute play.
Alas, it falls short of the boxes I desperately wanted it to tick. I found it difficult to pin down the relationship between the four characters that appeared on stage. Albert Clack plays the avuncular Harold, who features in the opening exchanges with Tiresia, played by Natasha Killman. Tiresia is an artist recovering from an accident, and is the protégée of artist Albert Rawlinson, whose relationship to Harold is never satisfactorily explained, and, even more annoyingly, is somewhere in Argentina. Harold’s granddaughter Laura, played by Marissa Joseph, appears shortly afterwards and evidently has designs on Tiresia. Handily, Laura is a psychology student and begins to analyse Tiresia’s apparently false memories that have taken hold since her accident. The waters are further muddied by Tiresia raking over the coals of her relationship with Alice, played by Louise Morell.
Why would Tiresia now suddenly understand the offside rule in football, dance the tango and speak fluent Italian? And why would she mysteriously recognise a girl called Melissa travelling on a bus? Laura questions whether memories can be stored chemically and not just in the head. The answer appears in the last five minutes of the play, but the story lacks a punchline, a payoff that tells us something valid about life. It presents a fascinating concept, but fails to take it anywhere meaningful. Consequently, the play feels self-indulgent and nothing more than intellectual gymnastics. The cast perform solidly but the script offers little flexibility – a missed opportunity.
Written and Directed by: Ian Dixon-Potter
Producer: Golden Age Theatre Company
Box Office: 020 7482 4857
Booking link: https://www.ticketea.co.uk/tickets-theatre-tiresia/
Booking until: 16 July 2017