Interviews

17/08/2013

Chimerica @ Harold Pinter Theatre


The production is very impressive. Dazzling. Like watching a cinematic spinning top, it is entrancing. But. But... I don't know, it left me cold. After the show I rambled on inarticulately for hours trying to pin down exactly why I felt cheated. At first I thought it was my kneejerk reaction to everyone else loving it. I can be really contrary, often for no reason, and I felt really uncomfortable with the way the audience was howling with laughter at the most throw away jokes. I didn't sign up for stand up. It was laughing with a kind of awkward relief that they could laugh at a swear word, that there were so many deliberate chunks of humour wedged in among potential political commentary. The biggest laugh was for 'skipping down Broadway like some cunt in a musical'. And there was something about the denouement that actually failed to tell The Tank Man's story. Like how on earth did he remain in China unmonitored all these years? How did he escape the authorities? What will happen to him now he's been busted dissenting? And why was there all that emotional weight thrown behind a missed opportunity and relationship ('she's having a baaaybeee') when the other central character in China is facing imprisonment, torture, mental health issues, etc... I couldn't find a molecule of sympathy for any of the American characters. But all these questions raised for me don't distract from the simple fact that whatever questions are left unanswered it is an enjoyable piece of theatre, the production is very impressive. Dazzling, in fact.

Runs until 19 October at the Harold Pinter Theatre. You can get £10 tickets up in the gods.