Out Through The In Door

Tue 6th – Sat 10th March 2012

reviews

Daniel Malcolm

at 10:04 on 7th Mar 2012

1agrees

0disagrees

Two characters, who already know each other, get to know each other, through a door. For fun. Theirs (perhaps). Ours certainly.

The play may begin and end with a hush from the play's author ; but in between it's a babbling, if rather polluted, brook of words: profane, prissy, Shakespearean, and witty. Mills' script is fluid and florid (unusual bed-fellows) - and at the cut-and-thrust, microscopic level it's a delight - outlandish to keep things spicy - but not so gratuitous that it leaves you wanting a drink of water.

One might well fear for the sanity of a bastard of Beckett, Pinter and McDonagh (so the programme proclaims); and this play is certainly about as theatrically inbred, and introspective, as they come. But its metaphors and monologues aren't at all showy or smug. And bubbles of poetic pretence are only blown to be popped.

Unfortunately at a structural level, a thousand witty words don't quite add up to a bigger picture. I don't mean the play fails to clear everything up; this isn't an Agatha Christie mystery after all; and certain-tea is a rather bland beverage (though it is a pun I stole from this one). I mean rather that some parts of the script seem to do too much work too quickly. The slightly lame parody of story-telling - 'one f**king day' - (which replaces conversation for a time) - gave away at a stroke too much of what the insincere dialogue had so artfully concealed. The wink and a nudge clue rather spoiled the fun. The themes that weren't unravelled - like the red(-headed) strand woven into the patchwork, yet seamless, dialogue of trivia were much more powerful in their elusive semi-crystalised state.

In the end then this is postmodernism with stabilisers on. For all the bluster and fronts, for all the cynicism about everything from playgrounds to poetry; it gives you a party-bag adage to go home with at the end. Amidst the insincere spoken and then retracted words, there is a refrain which is surprisingly explicit about its purpose: 'it behove every man once in his life to make a thorough examination of himself' - a little preachy for a play that takes the rip out of religion and truth (what important people say loudly).

Furthermore this is theatre, not talking tape - and the visuals were, apart from the bloody finale vomited up by Alex Mills, a touch unimaginative. The door was content to be a very convincing front door and nothing more. It didn't do enough or mean enough. The play initially revolves around demands that the door be opened, and you might expect the whole play to hinge around that moment. But in fact its prominence soon fades (aside from one stay knock knock joke) and ultimately, it is trivially bypassed by the characters who have long since ceased to treat it as a real barrier. And when half-way through, the inside of the door becomes the outside of the door, the mental furniture you've built up disintegrates.

So you are left with two (and a half) characters, in grey suits - no not quite right - two poets and a veil of words.

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