GOOD MORNING, ALAMO!
by Mark R Giesser.
Tabard Theatre 2 Bath Road W4 1LW To 9 February 2013.
Runs 2hr 20min One interval.
TICKETS: 0208 995 6035.
Review: Francis Grin 17 January.
A surprising take on the Battle of the Alamo, for better or for worse.
On my way to see a play which deals with the Battle of the Alamo, I was expecting drama, tears and bloodshed – a lot of bloodshed. Surprisingly, Good Morning, Alamo! couldn’t have been further from my expectations as writer and director Mark R Giesser blends satire, pantomime and melodrama to explore the 1836 massacre in which a small Texan army was brutally overpowered by Mexican troops. While this production is a little unsteady at times, it nonetheless remains engaging as it explores the naive stance of the Texans and the overall miscommunication shared by both sides.
Giesser directs a highly playful production, as new genres and story lines seem to emerge by the minute. One moment we’re witnessing a tragic love story, the next we’re in a panto with a talking cow (albeit a very articulate talking cow who "read in Cambridge"). The style, though imaginative and freeing, also becomes confusing at times as we can’t quite put our finger on what we’re watching. Melodrama or Comedy? Pantomime or Musical? We remain in the dark.
Yet Giesser’s script is rich in wit, offering some sharp viewpoints. Most enjoyable is the portrayal of the American immigrants (The Texans) who refuse to adapt to Mexican culture. As one of the American actors yells “Buenos Dias” to a Mexican soldier, with an accent so strong that it sounds as though he’s made up his own dialect, we can truly enjoy the little truths that might be embedded in this comedy.
Any shortcomings in the production were made up for by a vibrant cast of actors, whose energy and flexibility remains heightened throughout. Most notable is ‘Hat man’ and Charlie Chaplin look a-like ‘George’, played by Richard Emerson. With his fast-talking, New York swagger, Emerson is an absolute thrill to watch on stage.
For better or for worse, Good Morning, Alamo! is worth the watch for anyone who’s looking to try something new in the theatre.
Charlotte Vernon: Zoe Teverson.
Harry Birchfield: Steven Clarke.
Andreas Gerber: Steven Cavanagh.
George Kimball: Richard Emerson.
Bridget Ross: Riona O’Connor.
Francisco Castaneda: James Palmer .
Director: Mark Giesser.
Lighting: Phillip Jones.
Costume: Giulia Scrimieri.
Assistant director: Rishi Chatrath.