Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Interiors" - April 2009

We'd planned on catching this last week at the Traverse, however due to illness were unable to use the tickets we'd booked. Fortunately, we could still get tickets for when it reached MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling, and even though we ended up paying double, it was worth every penny. In fact my only regret is that we didn't get to see the show twice, because "Interiors" is a truly elegant piece of theatre that would benefit from multiple viewings.

The action is contained within Kai Fischer's stunning dining room box set. Solid on three walls, the fourth is glass/plastic that allows the audience to see in, but prevents sound from inside escaping - leaving us watching a silent dinner party (at least until the music gets turned up). What's impressive is just how effectively the cast communicate their situations and emotions - even before we get the assistance of our initially unseen commentator providing an insight into the guests at the table set before us.

Now, it would be fair to say that I'm a fan of shows with narration/voiceover and internal/external monologues so this was always going to be very much to my taste - and so it proved. Frequently hilarious, always compelling, the performances are impeccable. Elicia Daly, Sara Lazzaro, Myra McFadyen, Andrew Melville, Aurora Peres, Davide Pini Carenzi, Barnaby Power and Damir Todorovic make for what will surely be one of the finest ensembles Scotland sees this year. There are so many details to the characters and so much going on simultaneously that it's almost impossible to appreciate just how good they are in a single viewing - or to unravel the complexities of the characters. (Why doesn't Damir drink his shots?)

And right there is probably where anyone involved in the show may wish to stop reading... for much as I loved the show I can't help feel that it flatters to deceive. Strip away the narration and give the characters back their voices and I suspect we'd have something resembling a mediocre BBC sitcom. And I'm not sure that I should be quite so impressed by this form of theatrical alchemy - and just a little scared I might find myself tempted to try watching "My Family" with the sound muted. I'm also reluctant to reward the rather blatant emotional manipulation of the audience that comes as the evening reaches its conclusion. I don't mind having the rug pulled from under me but this smacked of overkill.

But there's no denying it makes for fascinating theatre and I was completely entranced by it. In the final moments our narrator/observer suggests she will move on to view other windows - the real shame is that we can't join her. Although, I'm finding myself more and more inclined to try and fit in a second helping when the show reaches the Tron.

Interiors is a co-production between Vanishing Point, Napoli Teatro Festival Italia, Mercadante Teatro Stabile di Napoli and Traverse Theatre. It continues its tour to Aberdeen, London, Glasgow and Naples.

Image by Tim Morozzo used with permission.

1 Heckle

Interval Drinks said...

I saw this last night and agree pretty much with everything you've said about, a really fascinating piece, with many layers that kept revealing themselves long after the show had finished.

I really liked Vanishing Point's Subway as well, when I saw it a couple of years ago.