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Another Eavesdropping (Susan Elkin reviews)


Venue: Jack Studio Theatre. 410 Brockley Road, London SE4 2DH

Credits: Conceptualised and directed by John Patterson. Produced by Angel Theatre Company.


Another Eavesdropping

3 stars

Well, if you want naturalism in a showcase for versatility this is probably the way to go. Based on eavesdroppings collected by the twelve cast members in public places this summer, Another Eavesdropping is verbatim theatre in its purest form – ranging in an hour and three quarters (including interval) from three young  men trying to get an Uber to the irritation of someone carelessly coughing over popcorn in a crowded cinema, an earnest discussion about cheese, and a lot more. Some of the conversation is so mundane that the humour lies in the banality. It’s very finely observed.

It’s effectively a series of vignettes of various lengths with, usually, one of the actors morphing into another character for the next scene so that there’s a casting overlap. Meanwhile the rest of the company sit – in their plain coloured teeshirts and jeans – absolutely still and neutral at the sides.  It is not a play as such. Rather it hops from one situation to another, randomly. Such structure feels reminiscent of a student showcase but that is certainly not a criticism of the standard of acting which is pleasingly high.

Ricky Zalman, for instance, is splendid as a sick, angry, man in a pharmacy ranting at great length about the way his prescription has been prepared. And Georgia Dawson plays against him perfectly as the patient, long suffering pharmacist. Both shine in other roles too – Dawson, for example, cries in a cubicle in the gents while Taylor Pope (excellent at all times) kindly tries to coax her out. Like every single scene in this show, it’s pretty convincing.

I liked Gordana Kostic’s preshow performance as a street busker, soprano soon casually moved on by a bossy official and she is strong as the doctor/social worker ruthlessly trying to manage a mental health patient. Ben Armitage’s opening scene in which he meets a girl he knows and camply talks at her for what feels to us, and to her, for a very long time is nicely done too.

There is a lot of talent in this show and most of it is entertaining but inevitably it feels bitty and that makes it hard work to watch because you have to keep readjusting.

First published by Sardines:

Author information
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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