Theatre 503 above The Latcbmere Pub 503 Battersea Park Road SW11 3BW In rep to 5 December 2010.
Blue Group: 8pm Tue, Thu, Sat.
Runs 2hr 5min One interval.
Yellow Group: 8pm Wed, Fri, Sun
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7978 7040.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 28 November.
Coalition comeuppance from intriguingly varied angles.
Yes, that coalition, of course, but Theatre 503’s taken the idea to heart. Each of the pieces which coalesce into these two political programmes is itself the combined work of a writer and someone from another line of expression – including musician, comic pack, graphic artist, dancer, journalist and, indeed, politician.
As usual with such a patchwork, the interest in the variety of approaches can be greater than the impact of individual sections. Sometimes the combination of skills is integral; at others the partners’ work is distinct. The mainly voiceover assault of Rex Obano’s script (the most direct hit at the Westminster coalition) intertwines throughout with Mina Aidoo’s choreography while Bourgeois and Maurice’s musical contributions to Lola Stephenson’s comedy – where an honest gardener’s caught between rip-offs by criminal and employer – are minor in time.
But the sickly-sweet tune with which Fanni Compton’s lady floats elegantly, seductively and (as one musical section emphasises between the sweetness) callously through her garden forms a vital contrast to the plot-driven male dialogue.
The filmmakers of Altogether Now could show their ‘Big Society’ comedy separately from the stage-action that precedes it. Altogether, the piece examines how ideas are manipulated for political ends, while We are Where We Are shows language edited and varnished for public con-sumption.
Elsewhere, the last election’s most reticent leader’s wife is brought into the light, while some collaborators refract political tensions through private stories far from the political scene. More overtly, Westminster Side Story neatly steps from a rather contrived finger-clicking musical about rival gangs (its opening image of a dispossessed election-night ‘Nick’ suggests one possible reason for the Coalition’s existence) to an agitprop conclusion where the Clegg figure accuses the audience for not revolting against him.
One of the most directly political pieces isn’t about the Coalition itself. PMQ shows David Cameron preparing for his first Prime Minister’s Questions, his confident monologue increasingly undermined from the corner by Gwendolen Chatfield’s guitar-playing figure, expressing a deeper level of uncertainty. Simply staged and perceptive it could easily be anthologised for performance elsewhere; here it forms part of Theatre 503’s rich and varied pattern.
Westminster Side Story
by Richard Marsh and Rogue Nouveau.
Cast: Brett Brown, Sam Hodges, Richard Atwill, Scott Ellis, Jack Fishburn, Paris Arrowsmith, Rob Witcomb.
Director: Pia Furtado.
by Sarah Grochala and Heydon Prowse, Joseph Wade, William Pine.
Cast: Chris Robson, Ross Armstrong, Amanda Wilkin, Anna Bolton, Jessica Lloyd, Richard Luke, Siu Hun Li, Aaron Gordon
Director: Jack McNamara.
Miriam, Gonzalez, Durantez
by Sarah Solemani and Rebecca Greig.
Cast: Lelia Farzad, Ian Barritt, Emmy Sainsbury, Simon Yadoo.
Director: Kate Budgen.
by Daniel Kanaber and Kirsty McNeill.
Cast: Rob Heaps, Felicity Davidson.
Director: Gbolahan Obisesan.
The Prophets and the Puppets
by Nimer Rashed and Ronnie Le Drew.
Cast: David Morley Hale, Emily Dobbs, Kane Sharp, Ronnie Le Drew.
Director: Poppy Burton-Morgan.
We Are Where We Are
by Dominic Cavendish and Clever Peter.
Cast: Richard Bond, Edwardc Eales White, Simon Grujich, William Hartley.
Director: Lisa Spirling.
Of the Willing
by Rex Obano and Mina Aidoo
Cast: Yaa Appiah-Badu, Nathan Johnston, Maddy Morgan, Janina Smith.
Director: Nadia Latif.
Shotgun Civil Partnership in the Rose Garden
by Lola Stephenson and Bourgeois & Maurice.
Cast: Anthony Barclay, Fanni Compton, Daniel Kendrick.
Director: Alex Sims.
by Ella Hickson and Gwendolen Chatfield.
Cast: Richard Lintern, Gwendolen Chatfield.
Director: James Dacre.
Bedrooms, Dens and Other Forms of Magic
by Ben Ockrent and Susie Hogarth.
Cast: Georgia King, Harry Meiling.
Director: Nadia Latif.
Designer: Katie Lias.
Lighting/Sound: Phil Hewitt.
Dramaturg: Sarah Dickenson.
Assistant director: Helen Broughton.