THEATRE / Name - Purcell Room, South Bank

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The Independent Culture
Under a clutch of lights cloaked in Woolworth's shades, three actors (Gary Stevens, Andrew Davenport and Caroline Wilkinson) create a bizarre parlour game. First comes a frenetic variant on musical chairs, until Wilkinson's abrupt 'Dorothy]' breaks the silence. A number of names are introduced, postures and props added and finally a plot emerges from seemingly random one-liners.

Gary Stevens's show is less a play than a memory game (or theatrical semblance of one), in which the actors have to assume the personae (male or female, and with correct posture and position) shouted out by the person who has spoken before. It is charades, consequences and Pelmanism rolled into one, and the stage slowly becomes populated by ghostly figures, waiting for the actors to slip into their skin and bring them to life.

Gradually, everything collects together in some sense of order: it is a family gathering, at which a stranger arrives, claiming to be the long-lost husband of one of the women. Her current husband is less than amused and they talk their way through the ensuing fight, vying for a childish one- upmanship - 'Oh my God] I've killed you]'

This is all acted out with deadpan humour reminiscent of Jacques Tati, or the National Theatre of Brent, and although some of the sequences are a little overlong, the pace and direction change frequently enough for the work to maintain its weird fascination.

Now touring; ring Nicky Childs on 071-482 3749 for details

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