The Ghosts on Ricketts Hill (FringeTIX)
the Suitcase Royale @ The Black Lung Theatre
11:00pm, Sat 17 Mar 2007
I’m still as impressed as fuck with the vibe in The Black Lung Theatre. Half-an-hour before the show, there’s groups of people huddled around playing cards, lounging around reading novels of weight, quiet stupors at the bar. And yet, conversations that float in the air contain words like “desktop widgets”. Then again, I’m sitting here in gaudy Okanuis with my laptop… it obviously takes all sorts.
Somone’s just yelled out “Does anyone have a CD of The Pogues?” The next song is AC/DC’s Back In Black. The stereo makes it sounds slow and sick. Maybe The Pogues have commandeered the CD player after all.
Thomas looks haggard. Shoulders drooped and cigarette clinging to his fingertips for dear life. Genevieve looks tired and ready for a break, but that smile’s still there. She says that the ‘Tiser review had a bit of an impact. I told her to seek out Nick Sun’s posters for a bit of anti-Advertiser inspiration.
The house, once again, seems full. I snaffle a deep and comfy lounge chair at the very front, from which I watch the Suitcase Royale perform The Ghosts on/from/of Ricketts Hill. And it’s a ramshackle affair; plenty of improvisation, plenty of bickering between the actors, plenty of off-script comedic asides. But, unlike the “fluffed line” asides that (say) the Three Canadians would perform, these are utterly convincing, totally natural.
Because they are.
Chatting with one of the Suitcase Royale after the show, my suspicions were confirmed: The Ghosts on/from/of Ricketts Hill is very much a work-in-progress, with the script being improvisationally developed in front of the audience every night, with the aim of having a “complete” piece at the end of the season.
This essentially means that, as a punter, you’re viewing a part of a much larger work of art; you’re watching the painter paint, watching the songwriter tinker with their instrument. And I, for one, find that strangely compelling; others, however, might be a little perturbed that they’re seeing an “unfinished” piece. But what you will see is a talented (and bloody funny) trio playing for laughs – some bits work, and some really don’t… and characters don’t mind commenting on the success of each bit as it’s put out there. The audience this evening loved it.
The show is rounded out with ELO’s “Livin’ Thing” – which is, of course, both entirely apt and a bloody great song.