Often I Find That I Am Naked [FringeTIX]
Jo Thomas, Sam Clark, Tom Raymond @ Le Cascadeur
7:15pm, Sat 13 Feb 2010
I have no idea who Fiona Sprott is, but her plays appear to be on the high school curriculum. Nothing else could explain the sixty-strong predominantly “young adult” audience that near-packed Le Cascadeur for this performance; then again, maybe it was the promise of “Sex and the City meets Bridget Jones”.
And this tale of a woman fucking and sucking her way through life, all the while musing about her lack of emotional fulfilment, is certainly amusing enough – for the first half of the show. Sure, you know who she’s going to end up the second he’s introduced, and the “I’ve got a disorder” line is a terrible cop-out, but there’s some comedy gold in there: the speed dating scene sees Clark flip between a handful of creepy male dating stereotypes with great aplomb, and the dog-fucking bit has him panting and howling as he humps Thomas’ leg as the audience roars with laughter.
But there’s too much there that doesn’t work for me. There’s a tiny snippet of pointless nudity – look! boobies! – during an interlude that seems completely out of place with the rest of the show. The sound bleed from the tent next door was atrocious, and terribly timed; during the one segment of emotional sensitivity, all we could hear was “ARE YOU READY TO FREAK OUT?”. And the audience really bothered me; their reaction to the spitting episode, and especially the way they reeled at the use of the c-word, reinforced my perception that there were a lot of young’uns present.
Tom Raymond’s piano accompaniment was pretty good, and the songs were generally pretty well done: nothing wrong with Tainted Love as an opener, Every Breath You Take gets wonderfully appropriated and made even more sinister during the stalking sequence, and Love Will Keep Us Together makes a great duet; Girls On Film felt a little out of place, though, even with its slightly morose tone.
In the end, I’m left shaking my head a little. It’s all so blunt, so tactless. The writing, the production, the acting are all… well, there, but none of them have any subtlety, and chance for lasting impact. Sam Clark’s multi-character acting was the standout of the show for me, but unfortunately that’s not as great a compliment as it seems. But, reading back the show blurb, I don’t really know why I would’ve expected anything else.