All in the Timing

Tue 8th – Sat 12th May 2012

reviews

Marion Pragt

at 11:38 on 9th May 2012

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Rooted in every-day meetings and conversations, this night’s show consisted of five one-act plays which all had to do with language and communication.

In Sure Thing, Seb Warshaw and Francisca Posada-Brown immediately impressed with their fast-paced dialogues, quickly and effortlessly switching between the different modes and moods of their lines, as they represented two strangers meeting and continually resetting their conversation until they finally found the perfect tone and content and fell in love.

Jennie King and Alex Porter got many laughs with their performance of The Philadelphia, where geographical locations were used to describe moods. The acting in this part was at times a tad overdone, but the play remained entertaining throughout.

The third piece revolved around a man confessing to a woman he actually is a typewriter, only for her to admit she is a piece of paper, which was as odd as it sounds, even though James Ellis aptly combined sweetness with a sense of fun.

Language was also very much at the forefront in English Made Simple, in which Stephen Bermingham and Helena Fallstram were involved in small talk, while a voice-over commented on their conversations and communicated their actual thoughts, reminiscent perhaps of the early Woody Allen films much celebrated in the first short play.

The last piece mocked Esperanto and the idea of a universal language as Don (Peter Lunga) tried to teach the made up language Unamunda to Dawn (Freddie Poulton) who tried to overcome her stammer when speaking English, or rather Johncleese, as Unamunda has it. Those who struggled to understand Don and Dawn’s exchanges, if only because of the audience’s many fits of laughter, might even like to consult the Unamunda-English dictionary that exists online. Fantastically hilarious, the play moved from the constraints of language to its utter joys. If this is how people spoke with each other before the multiplication of languages at Babel - no stuttering, no misunderstandings, no loneliness and inability to express oneself – it is just as well we live with Babel’s confusion of tongues, in which ambiguity and deliciously awkward conversations provide endless opportunities for comedy. All in the Timing never fails to make use of such opportunities, showing the limits of language, yet also celebrating human ingenuity in a performance in which especially the first and last plays stood out.

Hilarious and thoughtful at once, the entire show lasted for just over one hour, making it a perfect opportunity to leave aside revision once more and hit the Playroom for a wonderful night.

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