Thursday, 21 February 2013

Double Bill: A Ballad of Missed Opportunities & To London, Love Me - review

Written by: Kirstie Ralph (@kjralph)

Rich Mix Theatre, London

The first of a double bill was A Ballad of Missed Opportunities, devised and performed by Nohar Lazarovich and Jonathan Rogerson.  This was the duo’s debut performance of their first public piece. Perhaps this is why the show was clunky and, unfortunately, very awkward to watch at times. The central theme, concerning missed opportunities as the title suggests, never developed into anything more substantial.

Photo: Boaz Torfstein
Ironically, the piece began solidly with the pair breaking the fourth wall, inviting the audience to take photographs. Rogerson then discussed his unique idea to entirely cover himself in red paint, instead choosing to paint just one hand. Meanwhile, Lazarovich stood like a sacrificed victim of Count Dracula. This awkward relationship with the audience was initially interesting and well-acted, but this dynamic quickly lost momentum and became a little tiresome.

The piece descended into many fragmented scenes, loosely revolving around the central theme. For instance, Lazarovich intended to play the trumpet to the audience, but did not know how. This scene was a very obvious scenario and was followed by others of a similar content. The use of a projector presenting a black and white Audrey Hepburn film tied in well with the red set and prop table, yet it again had questionable relevance. It was simply another addition to a surplus of different elements, without direct relation to answering the question of missed opportunities.

There were some stronger moments of acting, including a well rehearsed scene of vocal overlapping concerning missed opportunities in dialogue. Having said this, these were overshadowed by prop malfunctions, poorly choreographed movement and the ill thought out scenes. The entire performance was unfortunately, a missed opportunity in itself.

Photo: Boaz Torfstein
Lowri Jenkins’ To London, Love Me was slightly better. This featured a young Welsh girl after her recent move to London. We saw her struggle to adjust to city living, with her only social outlet in the local supermarket; “Pound Meadow”, “Crap World” or “Thing Place”. Scenarios with a self-checkout humoured the entire audience, with everyone relating to the frustrations of “not having placed the item in the bagging area”.

The young actor depicted a cute and homely girl very well, shirking in her oversized pink turtle neck jumper. The plot progressed into the realm of bizarre when Jenkins dressed and impersonated a lemon she’d left behind. A friendship was conjured between the two, resulting in a highly awkward sex scene near the end of the piece. I do commend the actor for being so brave.

Jenkins then proceeded to eat the entire lemon. This courageous theatre was somewhat spoiled by the inclusion of a physical theatre section bearing little significance to the overall piece. Some excerpts, including a scene with her battling the tube at rush hour, were laboured and far too long. It would have been better to see some shorter, wittier scenes involving the actor and lemon in public places.  More audience interaction and improvisational scenes would have been a brilliant addition.

In conclusion, the evening was full of potential which was regrettably left undeveloped.  

This production has now closed.
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