Author Topic: Review of Lunch  (Read 5852 times)

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Offline Iain Fisher

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Review of Lunch
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2010, 10:33:55 PM »
This is an interesting review by Patrick Corser of a performance of Lunch at the Crescent Theatre July 2007.

"13 July 2007
Berkoff is a notoriously difficult playwright to stage well; the motives of his protagonists are typically complex, his wordplay virtuosic, his plays are physically demanding for the actors involved. This production, directed by Lauren Collins at the Crescent theatre in Birmingham benefits from a paring down of the more physical aspects of the piece in favour of a recreation of the everyday. The theatre is surrounded by canals, office blocks and apartments; this haunting little drama could be taking place on any bench under any one of them. The work concerns two strangers who meet during their lunch hour and seem both compelled and repelled by one another’s games and advances.

Colin Simmonds plays Tom with acute sensitivity; an oxymoron of both implicit tenderness and seething anger. His sexual desire is at once disturbing yet familiar, his comic timing often immaculate - ‘Her buttocks are sailing onto my hand, like a tea clipper on its maiden voyage bound for her Antipodes.’ Berkoff’s language at its best is darkly surreal, acerbic, vulgar, yet strangely touching. He describes the dark feelings we all have felt. Simmonds displays an obvious delight in the sumptuous wordplay and has created a character seedy and menacing yet oddly likable. From his sotto voce opening ‘she’s beautiful… who is she waiting for?’ there is little to indicate just how frightening Simmonds can become - when he looses his temper at Mary’s game playing his voice explodes with frustration, his face contorted like a demonic child. Sonia Knightley’s Mary is notable for forever teetering on the edge between attraction and disgust for Tom. Bitter, world - weary, her face is pained with disappointment. Her final monologue in which she speaks of her husband protecting her from GBH and ‘gang bang angels leather winged’ is surely disingenuous. Is it just such excitement that deep down Mary craves?

In Berkoff, intentional vulgarity sits cheek by jowl with passages of poetic clarity, allowing characters to reveal the most painful and ugly aspects of their lives. In Lunch, one of Berkoff’s finest small pieces, we see a black comedy of errors that is as universal as it is bizarrely peculiar. Animal attraction, talking the talk, coming to terms with clandestine desires. But although the play is about the possibilities of language, it also deals with the ultimate impossibility of language as a vehicle to express our most fundamental of desires. However much Berkoff spins a silken web of words, one can never escape the fact that behind them lies an unintelligible scream..."

The review comes from here