A Bit Absurd People Review

July 21st, 2013 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

How is it that Absurd Person Singular at the Central Square Theater has no reviews? Oh, yes, there is that matter of it only opened three days ago.

Let’s cut to it:

  • Prolific Alan Ayckbourn wrote this social comedy with underlying commentary 41 years ago. He’s prolific at 77 plays and he doesn’t dirty his fingers with TV or cinema.
  • The play ages well, with both the dialog and sight gags as fresh and titter-titter amusing as ever.
  • As in much of his work, the scant plot is subservient to the humor and character interplay.
  • Chunks of what-about and how-did-that-happen fall all the time…unanswered forever. (E.g., how did the pill addict shake her demon and emerge fresh in the next act?)
  • The central conceit of the social status and defined roles of the three couples shifting so dramatically would be nearly impossible in real British life, but that wouldn’t have made the wee drama embedded in the comedy.

badstoveIf you’ve never seen or read APS, know that the plot is thin for a 120 minutes, plus 30 or 40 scenery redo. Three couples meet for drinks on three successive Christmas Eves. Action is entirely in one couple’s kitchen in turn, but a few unseen human and one canine actor heard. The big point is that their fortunes do shift on stage and between each of the three acts, quite a lot. The lowest class/caste couple thrives despite their naive obnoxiousness, the middle one switches social and economic position, and the higher class teeters on penury. It is as the title states absurd, but allows for splendid dialog and British twits at their most extreme behaviors — adultery, alcoholism, toadyism and more.

This particular production though is worth its cost in time and money to see the act two performance of Liz Hayes as Eva. In a wordless but dominating series of great physical comedy, she attempts suicide repeatedly in numerous ways (head in oven, noose, window, pills…) only to be thwarted by mechanical problems or the interference of her husband and guests.

Her expressions of face and body surely exceed the best the playwright could hope or imagine.

We continue to subscribe to Central Square/Underground Railway/Nora Theater. I confess that while we go for their innovations, their ability to stage such a well known, older play are nearly as memorable and enjoyable.

This play is nearly Stoppard-level wit, but go for Hayes’ Eva.

 

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