C venue, Edinburgh
August, 2002

*** Professional American staging of "so what"-ish material

Brandon Toropov's seven playlets are about various kinds of power relationships, some comic, some poignant, all diverting, none compelling.

The synopses say things like "Trouble on the job search front for a self-confessed 'liberal arts wimp'" and "An American politician confronts husband about an illicit liaison that threatens her career". The most sustained and vibrant ideas occur in the central piece in which a Christian radio agony aunt and her associates find themselves giving way on air to exactly the sort of behaviour they counsel against.

There doesn't seem to be any grand thesis uniting the various scenes, nothing that compels us to see 7 Affidavits as a single indivisible work. Toropov's writing is accomplished, but distinctly modern American theatrical writing in terms both of its slightly self-conscious kind of humour and its tendency towards sentiment rather than real darkness. The four actors in this Boston-based company are likewise slick and intense as appropriate; however, in the end one admires the skills and is entertained for an hour and a quarter, but nothing deeper or more lasting.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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