The latest piece from Improbable Theatre lets you see why they're consistently worth watching; sadly, though, this time you don't feel it.
The team of Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch have been responsible for theatrical marvels ranging from the junk opera Shockheaded Peter to Lifegame, a play constructed entirely around an onstage interview with a member of the audience. Spirit contains all the delight in storytelling that we expect from them, and all the inventive staging: everything takes place on a steep ramp with a dozen or so trapdoors cut into it, through which puppets, huge bedsheets, cardboard cut-out buildings and the three performers themselves appear and disappear.
But for once it feels as if they are trying too hard. The story and the theme – one of three brothers goes off to war and dies (or does he?), while the actors bicker about how to tell the tale – feel calculated. It feels significant that they are working for the first time with a co-director who has a doctorate in "Process Work" (whatever that is) in the area of personal conflict. Improbable glory in the power of the imagination; this time, though, they are not so much celebrating it as giving instruction in it.
Written for divento.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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