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Posts Tagged ‘Fiona Biffini’

It was only a week ago that I reappropriated the term ‘kitchen sink drama’ to describe a play which threw in the kitchen sink in terms of subjects and issues, and here we are again with Moira Buffini’s sprawling satire, staged by her sister Fiona. Climate change, the decline of the aristocracy, white supremacy, racism, the NHS……oh, and there’s a comic fat guy. Obviously.

We’re in a rambling run-down manor house by the sea, the family home of Diana, where she lives with her daughter Isis and partner Pete, a one time rock star, one hit wonder even, who has become some sort of caricature of his former self. There is a raging storm, which brings severe floods, and people take shelter at the manor – the local vicar, married but now gay, Ripley & Dora, a mother who works in A&E and her student daughter from South West London, away from home to study, three members of fascist group Albion – Ted, blind Ruth and Anton – and the funny fat guy Perry.

Diana thinks she’s accidentally killed Pete after a tussle on the stairs. Albion’s leader Ted is trying to bed Diana and recruit fay guy Perry. Isis takes a fancy to Dora, and vice versa. I think it’s meant to be an allegory, though this loses focus as it moves from satire to farce. That said, it’s often very funny, the tongue-in-cheek, sometimes camp performances of a fine ensemble led by Nancy Carroll are pleasing, Lez Brotherston’s comic gothic set is brilliant and the storm effects created by Nina Dunn’s projections and Jon Clark’s lighting, are terrific.

Perhaps I’ve become easy to please since lockdown, as I seem to be at odds with the negative critical consensus of both this and Rare Earth Metal at the Royal Court. It’s like the critics lost some of the contents of their stars box and have been dishing out ones and two’s where three’s seem more appropriate. This may be flawed, and a touch long, but it was enjoyable enough to warrant a visit. Whether it should be on such a high profile stage as the Lyttelton is another matter. The rest of the audience seemed even more positive than me. Decide for yourself.

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