Friday, 26 September 2008

REVIEW: "Riflemind"

Riflemind, n. 1. The state of wishing to blow one’s head off rather than suffer the second act of an insipid play. 2. An insipid play currently running at Trafalgar Studios.

Is there really much more to say? Riflemind may be the inaugural product of an artistic partnership between Trafalgar Studios and some celebrity studded international companies, but it doesn’t mean the play isn’t complete and utter tripe. And by tripe, the RZ means shit, and in the worst sort of way.

How so, you ask?

Most insipid and bad plays do the audience the favour of being irredeemably bad or making it clear up front that there’s going to be some obvious lack of fulfilled potential which makes it easy to work out if it’s worth staying for the second act or at least having the benefit of being short yet not a total write-off. And then there’s Riflemind, which suckers the audience into returning for the last hour with the mysteries and intrigue of the circumstances surrounding a rock group’s breakup some 3-10 years earlier. We never know exactly how many years, though, since we hear that John, the lead guitarist and singer, hasn’t played for three years but also hasn’t seen some of his bandmates for ten - including his brother - whoops, spoiled the pointless secret which has no actual impact. Needless to say, the first act sets up the possibility for big reveals and big conflicts which never come in the second act. Instead, the audience get repetitive, irritating, aggravating, and shouty dialogues for a brain and butt-numbing two and a half hours but just manages to avoid being an outright bore. The audience aren’t given the answers or details they deserve, sacrificed for an actress making bad sandwiches and endless, meaningless yammering. The cast and set are all fine, though it’s hard imagine how they could have put up with both a full Australian run in addition to having to run through such rubbish again here. At least they’re well fed - in addition to the afore-mentioned sandwiches in the first act there’s also mass consumption of Chinese delivery in the second.

In short (and the RZ is keeping this short as possible since remembering the play is making him physically ill), Riflemind can be summed up by paraphrasing a Monty Python sketch on a different Australian product: Riflemind is a play with a message in it, and the message is BEWARE. This is not a play for seeing, this is a play for walking past and avoiding.

Where: Trafalgar Studios 1
When: M-Sa @ 19:30, Th & Sa @ 14:30
How Much: £25-45
Concessions: Unknown
RZ Unofficial “Worth Paying”: £0.
RZ Other Notes: Whatever happened to Bushwhacked, the punk band reunion show that ran at the Royal Court last year? That was supposedly far more interesting.


Jaq said...

Thank-you, had been waiting for a 'real' person review, thinking it couldnt be that bad, clearly it is.
You've saved me some cash.

stlbabysitter said...

you saved me some cash as well! I was wow'd by some big names attached to it and about to go book a ticket.
thanks for the review.


Anonymous said...

I saw it in Sydney this time last year....and we didnt go back for the second part.
Imo if it didnt have the 'big' names behind it it wouldnt have seen the light of day.