Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Easy Targets

Alecky Blythe's company Recorded Delivery specialise in a kind of documentary theatre where the actors wear headphones and draw on the vocal tics and speech patterns of their subjects in their performances. Their new show, Cruising, forgoes the broad canvas approach of their previous productions for a more intimate approach, focusing on the life - well, the sex life to be exact - of 72 year old widow Maureen.

Maureen was quite a character - played superbly by Mirandra Hart - but the whole concept of the show could be condensed as: "Gosh, old people enjoy sex too." It was a pretty slight idea, and often you seemed to be invited to laugh at these characters - real people interviewed by Blythe - rather than with them. It was funny in places but as sometimes happens, I was swept along with the laughter of others. It was only when I thought about it on the way home that i started to feel rather uneasy about the production. Plus there was some rather dodgy 'old person acting' from the cast. Not great.

This was my first visit to the Bush Theatre in ages, but I saw a couple of my favourite fringe shows of last year in the place (Dennis Kelly's tense After the End, Amelia Bullmore's superficially conventional but hilarious Mammals) and it's usually worth the schlep over to Shepherd's Bush, even on a sticky summer evening. This just wasn't up to their usual solid standards and, though Hart's sympathetic performance kept me entertained, I found the experience disappointing.

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