Michael Mears' solo show originated as an audition piece, and it shows in both style and content. A series of monologues set in a factory canteen present to us Bert the dishwasher, Walter the Pole who forgets things, Alan the bastard manager, and others of both sexes; subjects include golf, rock-hard marge, the narrator's liaison with Simone, dubious curry and doing a jigsaw of a Spitfire (hence the title). Walter's big speech, recounting the history of his forgetfulness and his scornful treatment by others, is touching if sentimental.
Mears gives an actorly performance, but although both delivery and script seem intended to be remorselessly pregnant, in truth it's no more than an entertainment and a rather self-satisfied one – more rigorous script editing and direction would have helped. It's a work of great facility, meaning both that Mears' considerable skills put him at ease amongst his creations and that it never quite becomes more than facile.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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