Wednesday, 19 March 2008

REVIEW: "Snowbound"

It would do the staff of Trafalgar Studios well to hand out orders of pancakes at performances of Ciaran McConville’s new play Snowbound - there’s simply too much syrup on stage for them to do anything else.

This isn’t to say that the RZ finds syrup bad - he’s quite fond of maple, boysenberry, and chocolate. However, Snowbound reads like the lighter side of Lifetime movies - the ones without domestic abuse. We’ve got the mentally challenged little brother, the selfless caretaker, the dead parents, the career-minded sister, the estranged marriage between family friends and the “make ‘em suffer more” tragedy at the start of the second act. Through all of this the audience is assaulted with enough videos and discussions on the nature, wonders, and pains of love to cause cavities.

The design, a cluttered wall of black and white family photos with blank price tags serves to distort the film-within-the-play on love, and for some reason the legendary red benches of Studio 2 (aka the only comfortable bench seats in London) are covered in white drop cloths, presumably to hammer home the winter imagery. The cast of seven are decent enough for the material, but none of them will take home an Olivier.

The RZ also wishes to call out the promotions staff for using pull quotes related to McConville’s prior works - and not always with full details on the placards and show posters.

There’s certainly an audience for this sort of material, but the RZ isn’t it and found himself wanting to pull a de Jongh and catch a short nap but managed to stay awake through the evening. For those big on “inspiring” works (and the RZ uses the term loosely), Snowbound is a must-see. For the more cynical looking to take in a bit of family drama, wait for August: Osage County or Next to Normal to transfer.

Where: Trafalgar Studios 2
When: M-Sa @ 19:45, Th/Sa @ 15:00 until 19 April.
How Much: £24
Concessions: Monday performances for £15, check re: seniors/students.
RZ Unofficial Worth Paying: £10 (TKTS for Mondays). Decent performances and a professional if not amazing script.
RZ Other Notes: Avoid seats A14-20 as you are likely to get stepped on/have someone’s arse in your face/have a light glaring in your eyes in this area. The RZ recommends ordering interval drinks in advance from the foyer bar as Dealers Choice has a simultaneous interval and the bars get insane. It *is* worth using the loo, however, if only to watch first timers struggle to comprehend the Dyson Airblades. Whingers take note, there is much alcohol consumed onstage along with some utterly nasty (read: stereotypically British) looking pasta.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I largely agree with the review. I think the cast did their best but I didn't really find any of the characters either likeable or believable. And the 'Rainman' character with his 'insights' I could have done without as well. Mind you, it came as a great relief when one of the characters was told to eff off - it showed she was actually supposed to be irritating.


PS And yes, the Dyson dryer is a thing of wonder