Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Kyoto" - March 2009

On my way back to work after this lunchtime visit to Oran Mor's "A Play, A Pie and A Pint" I mentally prepared an opening paragraph about how my expectations were too high, possibly unfairly so. But after further thought I'm not prepared to accept that. Yes, as soon as the Season was announced David Greig's "Kyoto" was the one I was most looking forward too, but I'm afraid that by any standards this has to go down as disappointing.

We meet government negotiator Dan (Matthew Pidgeon) and polar scientist Lucy (Vicki Liddelle) as they stumble into a hotel bedroom during an environmental conference. It's an event they have circled around and anticipated at many such similar conferences over a number of years but the opportunities have gone untaken - until now.

While the performances from Pidgeon and Liddelle are perfectly fine and there are a few comic moments, the production feels somewhat unloved. Dominic Hill's direction seems entirely absent, sound and lighting are minimal while Greig's script feels like an early draft that's been fished out from the back of a drawer. The relationship has too many blanks that are never filled in - What finally got them through the bedroom door this time? And now they are here, why the hesitation? There are moments that are so bizarre that it makes the characters ridiculous, an overused running 'gag' that never has a pay off, an ending that left me uncertain - and if there was a message it escaped me.

And then we have the running time. While we've come to expect these lunchtime plays to fit comfortably within an hour they tend to be fairly consistent at 45-50 minutes but this was barely over 30 minutes. Of course quantity can't be equated with quality, but for the first time ever "A Play, A Pie and A Pint" didn't seem such great value.

Not a huge concern of course, I'll shrug it off and be back in a week or two. However, this is the first of five co-productions with the Traverse which will also be staged there starting next week. And that's a real problem, because if this was my first experience of "A Play, A Pie & A Pint" I doubt I'd be rushing back.

Kyoto runs at Oran Mor until Saturday 14th March and then at the Traverse from Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st March.
Image by Leslie Black used with permission