Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"The Tailor of Inverness – Krawiec z Inverness" - January 2009

Where possible we try to see shows early in their run, and as a general rule we try to avoid knowing too much in advance (or reading reviews). But Dogstar Theatre's "The Tailor of Inverness" was enough of a hit at last year's Edinburgh Fringe that we couldn't help but have our expectations raised and that's always a dangerous way to walk into a theatre...

And worryingly, about three quarters of the way through the show I did find myself wondering what all the fuss had was about. Undeniably Matthew Zajac's story of his father's journey from his birthplace in rural Poland to Inverness was an interesting one, Zajac's performance was impressive, as was Jonny Hardie's accompaniment on the violin. But it didn't stand out from a host of similar style shows we've seen in recent years.

Then suddenly the show shifts on its axis and it's no longer the story of the father, but of Matthew and his piecing together of his father's life. Everything that has come before is thrown into a different perspective and what follows makes for absolutely electric theatre. What had previously seemed at one removed is suddenly and intensely personified in front of us. So much so, that at times it heads into a territory that left us feeling a little uncomfortable and voyeuristic, but it is completely and utterly compelling.

I'm wary of saying much more, but it is thoroughly deserving of its considerable reputation and if you can catch it on its extensive Scottish tour it won't disappoint.

As an aside, without wishing to start a West End Whingers style campaign, the decision to have unallocated seating at the Tron was distinctly unwelcome - the foyer simply isn't big enough to comfortably contain the audience in an ordered manner, especially with 4 entrances into the auditorium. It just resulted in a bit of an unseemly scramble.

Full details of the tour are available on Dogstar's website.
Image by Tim Morozzo used with permission.