Edinburgh Fringe 2012
A fast-paced, absurd comedy about a young playwright submiting his first play to a crazed, Hamlet-obsessed theatre director.
Repertory Theatre is a fast paced, absurd comedy. A young playwright has a meeting with the artistic director of a repertory theatre to discuss whether the theatre will stage his first play. The playwright’s father performed as an actor in that very theatre and the artistic director seems to be strangely obsessed by the dead father and by Hamlet – the only play as far as he is concerned.
The director has an odd manner about him; he is beset by strange ticks and constantly repeats and contradicts himself. At first it seems that he is just a temperamental diva; then you begin to suspect that he may be mad or schizophrenic. However the reality of the situation is revealed to be something altogether different from what it first appears.
The script of Repertory Theatre is excellent with a delightful twist that I don’t think anyone saw coming and a mixture of laugh-out-loud comedy and downright seat-squirming awkwardness. There’s some clever use of lighting too, that only makes sense in the second half.
The acting is superb as well, with the artistic director managing a constant stream of speed talking and exact repetitions of what he’s already said and done, with only a couple of very minor slips of the tongue.
There is some clever interaction with the audience, for example the meeting takes place in an office that is meant to be the site of the old repertory theatre stage and the two actors peer through the ‘fourth wall’ into an imaginary audience right into the eyes of the front row of the real audience. They also add some amusing ad hoc references to the actual venue (‘let’s put in red seats and make it hot as hell’).
The simple, but effective set is well used and all the props are there for a reason. The set consists of just a couple of picture frames, a desk with plums on it (although they look more like apples) and a bust with a wig and a sword. The bust and wig were distinctly tatty looking and although they had a role to play in the plot, they did rather spoil the appearance of the scene. Perhaps something less junk shop chic could have been found.
The only slight lapse in the performance is during the change of scene when the audience is left sitting in the dark a little too long while the actors scuffle around in front of them getting changed. This needs to be speeded up.
Sadly that was the last night of the run, but it was a very strong international debut for this Israeli theatre company. If they come back to Edinburgh you must go and see this brilliant original comedy.