Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Blue Hen" - May 2010

Des Dillon's new comedy set in a Coatbridge housing scheme, follows two men who, finding themselves on the scrapheap of unemployment, attempt to secure a better future through breeding hens. And if that brings to mind echoes of "The Full Monty", tonewise you're not far off the mark.

Charles Lawson and Scott Kyle make an entertaining pair as John and Paddy, and there are some very funny moments. But there's also a heavy reliance on using expletives to buy cheap laughs, and that's a pity, as it overwhelms the more sombre moments of the piece. It also suffers from a lack of clarity at times - in discussing the show afterwards, Waldorf and I had very different understandings of a significant plot element.

But I'm prepared to put that down to the distraction of what I could charitably call the 'lively' audience at Cumbernauld Theatre. Less charitably I could detail the three ringing mobile phones (that rang and rang and rang), the talkers in the second row, the attempted heckle and the numerous toilet-goers (5 minutes after the interval for heaven's sake). I really can't face writing another 'badly behaved audience post', however, I do have to note that I felt the 8pm start time and the full 20 minute interval were contributing factors. We appreciate bar takings are an important element for theatres, but I'm afraid it's something that will be a factor when considering to see a show at Cumbernauld in future.

Waldorf suspects that we're being theatre snobs and that anything that gets an audience through the door is a good thing, but I really don't care. My enjoyment of the show was significantly impacted by my fellow audience members and I think I'm entitled to be annoyed by it.

I do however apologise to NLP Theatre and the cast for not providing a fuller response to the show. I've sat on this piece for a week, but in the end I've concluded that I simply can't attribute how much of my disappointment last Saturday night was due to the play and how much was due to the external factors. I think the fairest I can do is simply to note that many in the audience were clearly enjoying themselves.

Blue Hen tours Scotland until 12 June.
Image by Daniel Goganian Ania Winiarska used with permission