Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Village Theatre - The Virtuous Burglar (Augustine's, 8 August)

A one-act Dario Fo farce, and one I didn't know: Mamma mia, how could I resist it? It turns out to be a play that could have been designed for the Fringe, with not much scenery required (a French window, a couple of doors, a telephone and a grandfather clock), no complex lighting, and fitting easily onto a small stage. The seven actors of Big Village (an Edinburgh outfit apparently) made the most of Fo's very funny script. In typical Fo fashion, the burglar of the title is the only character (except for a second burglar who appears right at the end) who isn't involved in adulterous high jinks. Mind you, his wife wouldn't let him. The first big laugh of the play comes just after he breaks into the house, when the phone keeps ringing and eventually he picks it up. A strident female voice (his wife's) bellows down it, to which he replies "How many times have I told you not to call me at work?"

This play doesn't have the big comedy set-pieces of Trumpets and Raspberries, nor is its wordplay as clever as that in Can't Pay? Won't Pay! But it has all the essential farcical elements of mistaken identity, deliberate imposture, hiding and revealing, and of course being a Fo it has a few small political digs at Italian local government, as well as a hard-working burglar trying to earn a living at his trade. Very well worth seeing.

I was about to advise booking ahead as it was packed out on Friday, but its run ended on Sunday. Ah well. Here's their website instead.


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