Tuesday, 14 January 2014

by Caryl Churchill
Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 18 January 2014.

For those expecting large cigars and speeches about fighting on the beaches, you'll be disappointed. Instead you can see two plays, "The Blue Kettle" and "This Is A Chair".

The Lace Market Theatre are relatively well known for producing new and different plays and these fall into both of these categories and may not be for everyone but is definitely thought provoking and will divide audiences, as it did tonight.

The storyline for "The Blue Kettle" is a man, Derek, who is meeting his mother for the first time after being given up for adoption when he was a baby, but when the second scene evolves, and he is meeting up with another mother, the confusion starts to creep in but we soon learn that Derek is pulling a scam, making believe to five mothers that they are all his mother. This is almost unravelled when Enid, Derek's girlfriend gets a little tipsy and blurts out his plan to one of the mothers, Is Derek's deceitful dalliances done and dusted? Well.........

So where does the Blue Kettle come into play? Well the odd word is replaced by either "Blue" or "kettle" until near the end there seems to be more "blues" and "kettles" and shortened versions of both peppering the script, which grew to be, not only confusing, but detracting from an interesting storyline. Maybe I was missing the point somewhere down the line but looking round at some of the other audience members I could see that they also seemed to be having the same problem of understanding why!

"This Is A Chair" was a short set of scenes which look at different aspects of current day to day occurrences that happen behind some suburban closed doors and explore them slightly differently. Again a very interesting concept which really got the old mind working quickly, mainly due to the quick succession of the scenes and the subject matter.

Both are thought provoking and that's what theatre should be all about. Whether the theatre is good or bad (in the eye of the viewer) as long as it can cause a reaction of some sort, then I feel that it's done it's job.

All of the actors, some better than others, I thought deserved a pat on the back for performing in the very close proximity of the upstairs studio. Brave indeed but also highlighted some slight timing issues that may have gone unnoticed if it had been performed on the stage downstairs.

Interesting and quirky but may be a little too off the wall for some.

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