OPERATION GREENFIELD To 25 November.

London/Tour

OPERATION GREENFIELD
by Little Bulb Theatre.

Soho Theatre 21 Dean Street W1D 3NE To 4 June 2011.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 3pm.
TICKETS: 020 7478 0100.
www.sohotheatre.com

then Tour to 25 November 2011.
Runs 1hr 20min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 26 May.

Good fun from village voices.
They can’t be faulted under Trade Descriptions; one character wears a hat, occasionally, which carries an illuminated light bulb. Though given the village setting of Stokeley, where the Christian rock-band that becomes Operation Greenfield is based, and the rural tour of this company’s other show, perhaps that’s not the sort Little Bulb had in mind.

Anyway, they generate plenty of their own energy, as teenagers who meet through church and seem to lead sheltered lives. Dramatically, it’s a one-joke piece, though the joke shows plenty of flexibility, as these young people talk, sometimes with a rapidity verging deliberately on the edge of comprehensibility – consonants, syllables, words, flash past, or are past-over, with a speed powered by youthful keenness.

Tensions remain unspoken until they evaporate, or are handled politely by talk of a dominant personality. Nothing undermines goodwill and eagerness.

The performers are too endearing to engender anything dark or malicious. It’s something that follows through to their (often identically-named) characters. Untested by much in the way of life, there’s something endearing in their continual looks of puzzlement punctuated only by spurts of activity. And so it will go on, unless someone cuts a bypass through Stokeley, or drugs get into the village bloodstream – and there’s no suggestion of such things being round the corner.

So there’s time for the group to prepare their musical Christmas story – though they barely reach Jesus’ birth, focusing on the prequel, particularly one Zacharias being struck dumb (cue song ‘Dumbstruck’, artfully mentioned some time before its significance become clear) for refusing to believe what an Angel (Shamira Turner, strapping-on wings and climbing a stepladder, or stood on a chair) tells him.

The whole enterprise is very good-natured, and that includes the music the Stokeley youth create. That alone is probably enough to win over many audience members, as one character tries to make her drumming increasingly funky, and another’s long fingers crawl over a guitar like a long-legged spider in a particular hurry. Others import accordion and flute to the rock-band. All good fun, much of it caught on CD, for sale after the show.

Molly: Clare Beresford.
Daniel: Dominic Conway.
Violet: Eugenie Pastor.
Alice: Shamira Turner.

Director/Designer: Alexander Scott.

2011-05-27 16:51:53

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