Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Wretched Bliss, The King's Head Theatre

This is precisely the sort of lyric theatrics that should be going on at The Kings Head Theatre: modest, unusual, experimental. I rather enjoyed this short comedy in which a relationship starts under a flimsy - i.e. drunken - pretext and, a short period into the future is in its inevitable death throes.

Stephen Crowe's angular music often gives way to speech and silence, as if the characters run out of the ability or will to express themselves. The fractious couple, Nick Dwyer and Zoe Challenor negotiate the odd contours of the music with some real singing, and exploit the comic potential of the silences well (although I felt that the spoken passages were awkwardly under-projected).

The evening's notable pleasure though is in the band. This is where the real expression - and expressionism - is happening, with tearing, louche strings alternating with tumbling, speak-first-think-later trumpet and saxophone. Genevieve Ellis directs the excellent quartet, the best reason to make the trip to Islington.

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