Friday 29 March 2013

Trash - LittleBerry Big laughs

'Vikki' - Sophie Wardlow
'Inga' - Catherine Forrester
Out of a festering pile of rubbish erupts Vikki (Sophie Wardlow), hair darting in opposing directions, alive like Medusa's mane, but these are not serpents that writhe but a medley of cans, discarded food and I'm sure a few creepy crawlies. Although she looks like Stig of the Dump this isn't her home but the larder from which she hand picks the choicest delicacies.
Surprisingly she is not the only diner at this bin bag buffet. In fact she shares her spoils with a brace of houses and their inhabitants. You would expect her to be territorial, but despite some petty irritations all the characters in Tom Hunt's new comedy Trash are free from stereotype and aggression.

'Liam' - Craig Deuchar
This is a comedy which hinges on the central theme of Freeganism, a desire to eat and live without spending a penny, foraging in bins and hedgerows alike. It's a matter of recalibration, mouldy cheese becomes a blue veined bonanza, a squishy melon is not overripe but at its fullest flavour. All the characters have iron stomachs and you expect them to object, at least on the grounds of hygiene, but no, it seems there are no limits, only those of the audience's squeamishness. Most of the time it is like a game of 'dare', no one wanting to refuse the most putrid morsel.
'Gabriel' - Henry Allan
The fine collection of characters don't rely on cliché to describe their inner motivations and trash can tastes. It would be easy to do so with the main scenes being grounded in students digs. Even the main counterpoints to the student's way of life are swayed to their ideology (sometimes unwittingly).
The landlord is played superbly by Paddy Cooper who immediately captures the hearts (and laughs) of the audience with his Rigsby-esque comic patter, but he still posseses a hint of menace. His tasting of the Freegans peach wine elicits an unexpected response.
'Neil' - Paddy Cooper
The ideology of Freeganism is gently represented and not once does it get on its high horse. In fact the most political figure 'Gabriel' (Henry Allan) subtly unseats himself throughout with bad jokes and camp dialogue.
Another strong performance was Catherine Forrester as Inga, who provides a small but spikey opposition to this rubbish heap lifestyle with sharp Eastern European mentality and desire for tidiness.
Tim Fulker
It was hard for me to draw all the characters because of the play's frenetic pace, and to follow all the humorous duels so I relied on the man next to me (Tim Fulker). I could hear him titter and giggle throughout. During the break at the White Bear Theatre I asked him what he thought as he constructed a roll-up......

"I love the variety of comic characters, particularly Neil/Nigel. Occasionally I've been short of
'Craig' - AJ MacGillivray
money myself, In fact I've lived off Out-Of-Date sandwiches for the past 3 months, so I know the pure pleasure when an unexpected treat falls in you lap".
Whether Tim was talking about finding a chocolate button down the side of the sofa or the play itself was unclear but from the amount of laughter in the second half I'd say it was the latter.
'Little Tom' - Joseph Stevenson
The whole cast worked well together and it was fast paced, tight knit performance, in fact I was still in mid sketch as the curtain fell, catching me unawares. As a new comer to both the excellent White Bear Theatre and LittleBerry Productions I grabbed a word with the play's producer Phoebe Hunt. It is clear she has many projects in the pipeline for LittleBerry, a company that helps young actors, directors and fledgling theatre professionals get a foot in the stage door.
My favourite scene of the night was steered by James Stirling-Gillies 'Curly', when he unearths a bottle of 1980's ketchup from a mountainous mound of refuse sacks. Not only are digits dipped into
'Curly' - James Stirling-Gillies
the sauce with great relish but the subsequent sampling sticks two fingers up at the likes of Masterchefs' Torode and Wallace. These characters, after all, are hungry people whose taste buds and sense of community have been heightened by necessity.
'Julia'- Holly Ashman
Trash doesn't pretend to be champagne theatre but a very apt comedy in these times of austerity, so lets celebrate with a bottle of Chateau Heinz c.1988 amongst good friends.
What more could you wish for.
Trash continues its run at the White Bear Theatre until 13th April 2013

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