Twisted Tree Theatres, The Bald Soprano by Ionesco was exactly what it was meant to be, completely absurd. For a comedic absurdist play I didn’t mind it, and yes I have to prefix it with “for and absurdist play” because I’m not a fan of the genre; I never have been and I don’t think I ever will be. All of the absurdist favourites were there: repetition; uncertain time and place; silence; monotone speech; and a complete lack of logic. If you’re looking for a story you won’t find it here.
Director, Kara McLaughlin delivered a good show. This genre isn’t easy to achieve. You really need to let your creative mind wander into the bizarre and I do think she pushed the boundaries of reality. The performance was high energy and physical. The six actors portrayed their caricatured roles well and all adopted some version of a clichéd English accent, which they all successfully maintained throughout. The actors were focused and showed conviction amongst the ridiculousness of it all. The cast worked well as an ensemble, taking from one another’s beats and staying very reactive to achieve a well-executed performance.
The set was simple but I thought they could have pushed the boundaries and had more fun with the styling of the living room layout. Glass windows by the front door failed to deliver a ten-minute gag, in which the doorbell would ring and no one was there. I felt much the same with costume. This is a play to have fun with, to use those stereotypical characters and go to town. This isn’t the time to hem in your creativity—excuse the pun.
There are some cute scenes—the Smith’s talking about a family in which every family member is named Bobby Watson, or Mr and Mrs Martin trying to figure out where they may know each other from—but that’s sort of where it ends for me. It’s cute, I had a bit of a giggle but it doesn’t amount to anything much, which left me feeling flat. Given all this, The Bald Soprano is an interesting idea at its heart. I can understand the underlying themes relating to the breakdown of communication and language within society—an important theme worthy of exploration that is more relevant now than ever.
Those who love this genre will love this play. For the most part, I embraced the absurd with The Bald Soprano tonight—but it might be a lot to do with the fact Trump’s just been elected as President of the United States and the whole world’s gone mad!
The Bald Soprano was performed from 9th to 13th November 2016
Jessica Wright – Theatre Now and Talking Arts