Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Fifteen Minutes" - February 2009

Back at Oran Mor for A Play, A Pie and a Pint, and just as well I arrived early as those arriving later found there was a run on the pies! It's a testament to the quality of their productions in recent years just how much of an institution it has become, and even if this week's installment set at an "X Factor" style audition didn't blow me away, it was always entertaining.

In a 50 minute lunchtime play with the emphasis on fun, there's little harm in allowing your two lead characters to remain as caricatures, but here, in attempting to give them more substance writer Kim Millar resorts to some heavy handed audience manipulation. Admittedly this isn't exactly out of place in a parody of reality TV, but is nonetheless a fruitless exercise - and a pity as I'd much rather have seen the situation play out without the 'startling revelations'.

But there remains much to like about "Fifteen Minutes", not least two very strong central performances. Armed with some exquisite dialogue from Millar, Joyce Falconer as serial auditionee Jacqueline sneers her lines in a gloriously deadpan style, while Sarah McCardie is thoroughly believable as the younger Lynsey starting out on a reluctant first attempt to grasp the limelight. Indeed, McCardie's "audition" was worth the ticket price on it's own.

The essential problem is that it simply can't compete with the real thing - or at least the American versions that also reach our UK screens. Nothing here can compare to the fun to be had at the expense of the self-delusional wannabees, the drama of personal traumas being overcome, or the bitchfest and mental breakdowns that only Hollywood Week on American Idol can provide.

A fun way to spend an hour over lunch but, with the exception of McCardie's vocals, instantly forgettable stuff.

Fifteen Minutes runs at Oran Mor until Saturday 14th February.
image by Leslie Black used with permission

2 Heckles

Lallands Peat Worrier said...

I'm always interested to read your analysis of the performances you go to see. Its nice - after a hefty period of time spent lurking - to let you know.

I think you hit the proverbial napper of the nail in your analysis of Fifteen Minutes. The chill which descends on audiences during the "emotional" bits of plays can be electric. In Oran Mor on Wednesday, the coolness of revelation felt vacuously manipulative. Certainly bolted-on, as is the convention with surface-to-depth type paired dramas.

Not to mention the more than chauvinistic whiff attending the woefully familiar idea that an infertile women, by apparently "failing" in one of her feminine duties - must go to pieces and remains willing immediate to strap her yoke back on, solely dreaming of rediscovering fulfilment in the greasy company of some penis-wielding git.

A curious sort of stereotype, I thought, for a female playwright rather uncomplicatedly to replicate.

Statler said...

Thanks for your comment. You've clearly given the revelations more thought than I have. To be honest, I didn't get past the fact that they weren't needed and were so crudely handled. But yes, as you say, even if there had to be revelations, the ones chosen were pretty poor.