THE AUTHOR: Tim Crouch
Touring. Runs 1h 15m, no interval
Visits Birmingham, Manchester, Lisbon finishes 25.11.10
Review: Rod Dungate 11.11.10, Birmingham Rep
Unusual, disturbing, but not unfriendly.
This Tim Crouch work is most unusual – three characters and a writer in search of a play, perhaps. It’s funny, unexpected and, eventually, deeply disturbing and rewarding.
I’m loathe to give too much away because surprise is part of Crouch’s form. Suffuice it to say that a writer, an audience member and two actors recount their experiences of involvement in one of the writer’s play in which the actors were the actors. The plays (the inside and outside ones) centre around the rape and mutilation of a teenage girls by her father.
As the performers recount the play, their research, their rehearsal processes in Crouch’s intriguing, interactive play, we, together, explore our relationship with theatre, with violence and with the portrayal or staging of violence. The results of our personal exploration may disturb but the event itself is never unfriendly. Clever.
My only real criticism is the writer’s insistence (I’ve read the script) on retaining references to everything happening in the Royal Court. It both jars and feels oddly patronising. A young audience member sitting next to me called out: ‘We’re in Birmingham Rep, mate.’ Unfortunately he didn’t call it out loudly enough.
Strong performances all round and several images that will remain with me for a long time. Nothing more so than when Esther Smith (excellent as the woman) demonstrates the way in which an American contractor’s body spasmed in a video they watched of him having his throat cut. It’s chilling – as if we, too, are voyeurs. But then she really scares us s-less by innocently asking: ‘Would you like to have a go?’
Directors: Karl James a smith.
Lighting Designer: Matt Drury
Music and Sound Designers: Ben and Max Ringhaham