CAN'T STAND UP FOR FALLING DOWN
King's Head Theatre, London N1
Opened 6 July, 1992 (lunchtime show)

Richard Cameron's delicate, moving play outlines the harrowing effects upon three women's interlocking lives of one brutal man (who never physically appears onstage), and does so almost exclusively through monologue. Natasha Carlish's cast tend to act out, often to an unnecessary degree, the events described rather than responding to words and emotions from the inside outward. Hamstrung also by the necessity of acting against the set of the venue's main evening show, the staging clutters the clear lines of the script.

The text can accommodate any one of the women becoming a production's central focus; here it is Sonja Mindt's knowing, oddly resigned Ruby, the mother of the monstrous Royce's son. Also wasted is the great and disquieting potential for enlisting audience complicity in its climax there's no sense of a grim, necessary culmination, in fact scarcely any engagement at all. A play which has the capacity to come off like a small earthquake is here confined to a frustrated lurch.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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