LIFE SUPPORT
Etcetera Theatre, London NW1
Opened 19 February, 1992

The Parti-Pris quartet's Lecoq training periodically obtrudes in this collage of hospital vignettes; for the most part, though, the passages of abstract movement simply bridge transitions between episodes. Their observations of patients, visitors and staff alike are acute: characters (both comic and serious) are recognisable types, but are portrayed without censure or scorn. A stressed executive turns himself into a wolfman and terrorises his visiting colleagues; an elderly husband visits his ailing wife with the intention of ending their misery (a moment at once Pinteresque and sentimental); a comatose young woman delivers a final soliloquy. The company balance on the fine line dividing admirable sensitivity from mistakenly romanticising hospitalisation, and seldom wobble. In the devised theatre debate, Parti-Pris are a sizeable exhibit for the defence.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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