[2009036] The Revolution Starts Here

The Revolution Starts Here [FringeTIX]

ActNow Theatre for Social Change @ Queens Theatre (The Big Room)

2:00pm, Wed 4 Mar 2009

So – nearly a week after the event, I sit down to write about The Revolution Starts Now and discover – much to my delight – that ActNow has Edwin Kemp Attrill as its Artistic Director… the same young chap responsible for last year’s sterling 1984. And suddenly all the little flourishes that made Revolution such a delight to watch make sense – because he’s got The Eye.

The play opens with a cast bow, a celebration of what’s yet to come – then an explosion, the lights dropping to black. When they come up again, we see a simple scene with a local newspaper reporter and her photographer lackey trying to get a story out of a homeless chap, squatting on someone else’s land; a commotion ensues, arguments with the landowner, a hippy-esque do-gooder gets involved, and it rapidly devolves into a cacophony of yelling (as heard in the previous night’s performance of Blood Will Have Blood), until a clean-cut saviour appears promising Revolution.

As plans for the Revolution progress, factions form and dissolve between the six stereotypes; backs get stabbed, ideas get undermined, and the explosive finale (whilst a predictable outcome) emerges from a stunning piece of direction: another rabble, another cacophony (there’s that word again) of dialogue, out of which little threads of conversation form, one character’s line spilling into the next, creating a genuinely exciting piece of work.

Even though I felt like I’d heard most of the performance the night before, Revolution felt like fresh, enthusiastic, angry theatre. Sure, you could look at the stereotypes on display and draw your own conclusions about this being an exercise in Politics Lite, but any production that contains the lines “the proletariat has seized control…” / “fuck that!” gets a big thumbs-up in my book. Kudos to Attrill for his direction, and Gemma Sneddon & Brad Lee’s tight script. And the actors, of course, who perform admirably throughout.

Revolution was well worth the effort – though, of course, it’s too late now… the season’s over, and even I was lucky to have caught it: only at the last minute did I notice that there were matinees available. Of course, there were only about ten people in the crowd, including Attrill and three comps… so that’s six paying punters at eighteen bucks each. My heart falls at that, it really does – I hope these guys do well, because we need this type of theatre to continue.

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