BWW Reviews: THE HOLIDAY & THE EISTEDDFOD, Bussey Building, May 19 2014
An Australian takeover comes to Peckham's painfully trendy Bussey Building with two writers from down under showing in a double bill. Raimondo Cortese's 'The Holiday' and Lally Katz's 'The Eisteddfod' are both darkly comic two-man shows.
Two Australian blokes on holiday in an indeterminate yet tropical location strike up a conversation. Strangers when they meet, their stream of consciousness conversation leads them to chat about numerous topics including; selling ties, suicidal dreams, 100-year-old drag queens and good posture.
Cortese doesn't reveal much about his leading character's present lives yet we learn about their pet peeves (including super keen Swiss mountain climbers in the Himalayas) and stories from their childhoods.
The anecdotes are punctuated by odd yet powerful Baroque singing. I wasn't sure of the context of this.
The two leads, Arno and Paul, are played with good comic timing by Paul Woodson and Andrew Buckley. Unfortunately their accents wavered between Australian, South African and Brummie. I wonder why the director didn't just let them speak it in their mother tongue?
I'm putting it out there. I had to Google what Eisteddfod meant (Welsh cultural festival).
For lead character Abalone (Paul Woodson again) in Lally Katz's show, however, it means the world. Madness and parental loss have turned him and his sister Gerture (Louise Collins) into introverted characters who can only exist in a make believe world of strange pretend incest, teacher role play and song lyrics. The Eisteddfod and their version of Macbeth gives them something to cling to, to learn for and to come together.
Collins' Gerture reels between fragility and independence as she wonderfully conveys her yearning at needing a male influence other than her overbearing brother in her life.
As Abalone, Woodson is sulky, immature, needy and boarding on schizophrenic as he morphs into 'Ian' an imaginary sexual partner of Gerture and his own father.
Fi Russell's set is designed on the tilt to mimic the chaos of the siblings world and the characters dance around it and into bed with impressive agility.
Darkly comic, Katz's two-man show is skilfully paced, very funny and wonderfully weird.
Until June 4th