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EXPRESSO by Theatre 21
Published on Friday, 14 May 2010

As an hour or so of entertainment this performance was amusing, if not thought-provoking.  The five performers were confident and there were some very good performances (names were listed on the flyer but individuals were not identifiable), but it’s still hard to recommend it over any other show.  I’d say it was reminiscent more of an end-of-term performance than a professional-quality play.

Billed to ‘give you the kick you need to get on with what’s important in your life’, I was left not inspired but all too aware that many people survive a mundane life by daydreaming.  In this case even the dreams were less than thrilling, and the performers relied on sound and props to engage our imagination.

A size 0 is distracted at the smell of a hot-dog she then devours in private; a woman anxious to find the right spot on the table for a vase makes light of OCD.  A macho bloke struts about grunting and ends up cuddling up to his blanket like a baby – which, whilst more compelling initially than other scenes, went on way too long for what it communicated.  As for the character who danced with a broom as partner, I am surprised the director thought this might entertain a mature audience.  A boy of about 9 sat in front of me kept turning to see if his mum was laughing; he appeared more bemused than amused, and I think this speaks volumes.

As a theatre company providing opportunities to would-be performers, Theatre 21 has an admirable mission.  But there’s a lot to choose from in Brighton right now – and there’s sadly not reason enough to pick this performance at the expense of other, more accomplished ones. 

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.