by Robert Farquhar, Lizzie Nunnery, Matthew David Scott, Kellie Smith, Esther Wilson, Laurence Wilson, Jeff Young.
Everyman Theatre and surrounding streets In rep to 30 October 2010.
7.30pm 6-8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30 Oct.
Runs 1hr (very approx) No interval.
TICKETS: 0151 709 4776.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 2 October.
Homes-from-home for new Liverpool dramas.
It may seem strange to comment on a production when you’ve seen less than 20% of it. And it could seem perverse to create an acting ensemble, then fragment them into separate parts. But that’s what’s happening on nights when the Everyman Unbound ensemble isn’t together on stage for ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore.
Working with site-specific theatre creators Slung Low, the Everyman splits its Anthology audience seven ways, each trooping off from the auditorium within minutes of arriving, accompanied by an actor to a nearby location, where a story unfolds. Sometimes another actor appears, often there will be voices (the Hope Place terraced house used for Robert Farquhar’s A Word Doesn’t Exist had cunningly concealed high-tech sound).
Each new play is from a Liverpool writer. In Farquhar’s piece, amiable Ronnie leads us, apparently prospective house-buyers, talking through headphones about his wife, life in Liverpool and how pleasant the neighbours are. He’s smiling and chatty, though there’s a sense of nerves which rises once we’re in his house.
His sudden silence when someone knocks on the door for him indicates something’s seriously wrong, confirmed when he starts talking about his daughter, dead at 17, her photograph passed round. He’s convinced she’s trying to contact him; so much so it split his marriage. When the action (or narration, as we sit and stand listening) moves to the dead girl’s bedroom, dark-coloured and filled with teenage Goth decoration, the nervous manner edges nearer obsession.
This, plus an odd reference, links to ’Tis Pity; which might or not be conscious, and which might, or not, occur in the other plays. Real prospective buyers would have decided it wasn’t quite what they were looking for and left early on in the narration. But theatre can turn tedious tales and rather intimidating madness into a story that makes sense and needs an outcome. Certainly when told with Stuart Richman’ smiling supplication and exploratory certainty.
The outcome, when it arrives, is visual and sympathetically ironic. This, anyway, is a worthwhile chapter in an Anthology created by a theatre that itself is exploring the language of performance.