by John Kolvenbach.
New Diorama Theatre 15-16 Triton Street, Regents Place, London, NW1 3BF, London NW1 3BF To 21 December 2013.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7916 5467.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 13 December.
A play about scripts in a place about plays.
South London-based AllthePigs exists to promote new writing with an emphasis on direct communication between actors and audiences. Don’t expect big sets or fancy technology then.
Travelling up north to the New Diorama they’ve been matching a play about playwriting from an experienced American dramatist with a new one-acter from their own dramaturgical stables, one play a week during the three-week run of John Kolvenbach’s Gizmo Love.
Contributing thirty minutes to the time above, the second week saw Caitlin Ince’s Chicks, which balanced Kolvenbach’s all-male quartet with a majority female cast, in a kind of wind-down from the party we, but not they, have missed. Ince shows skill with dialogue even if she reveals little new about the sobering facts of life at an age (mid-twenties upcoming) when student freedoms are fading and nothing too promising lies ahead.
Kolvenbach’s play takes the temperature a stage on from this, when success has been acquired and the bills are coming in for payment. Ralph’s a writer whose work’s been taken-up by Hollywood. Then he starts learning. The dramatic vision it’s been his life’s mission to accomplish becomes a short-cut for the studio to produce its next commercial product.
And if they’ve hired Ralph to help them, it’s not for the sake of artistic freedom. Enter Manny, the studio’s man, whose work isn’t to help shape Ralph’s vision to the rules of cinema, but to turn his script into formulaic material.
But the process goes two ways, and Manny starts investing personally in the revised drafts of Ralph’s life’s-work. So the studio has another go, with two more company men.
AllthePigs supremo Sam Carrack has a capable and hard-working cast for all this. But it could well be a play that reads better to someone in theatre than it becomes when performed to a wider audience, There’s something too calculated about the arguments to take matters deep into an individual consciousness, but nor is there the verve in handling the studio process which makes Ron Hutchinson’s Moonlight and Magnolias such hilarious material.
Which doesn’t make it pointless; it just doesn’t make it memorable.
Thomas: David William Bryan.
Manny: Spencer Burrows:
Max: Andy McLeod.
Ralph: Jerome Thompson.
Director: Sam Carrack.
Assistant director: George Islay Calderwood.
Jen: Clare Fraenkel.
Clare: Lydia King.
Olivia: Victoria Hamilton-Barritt.
Dominic: James Rastell.
Director: Melanie Spencer.
Costume: Alice Woodward.