Theatre Critic and Journalist

Review: Boom Bang-a-bang, Etcetera Theatre

Review: Boom Bang-a-bang, Etcetera Theatre

Published in Time Out, 18.05.2010

Given Jonathan Harvey’s farcical potboiler revolves around the Eurovision Song Contest, cheapness dictates a verdict of ‘nul points’ evidenced with a quip about a production that has less beneath its surface than Bucks Fizz ever did. Such a shallow gesture, however, would only match About Turn’s desperation to please, which, by prostituting itself for laughter, deserves none.

For all that it veers towards the improbable in its final moments, Harvey’s script warrants being taken seriously. His camp collection – all of whom have gathered in recently bereaved Lee’s Kentish Town flat to watch Love City Groove conquer the continent – is finely balanced to enable volatility and vulnerability among the wisecracking one-liners, but director Marc Nykolyszyn refuses to trust in the material. Instead he elevates mincing over motivation, steering a childish course that risks offending with its crassness.

By making no effort to root the play in its period or to realise the pain of its individual characters, Nykolyszyn reduces Harvey’s text to shoddy pantomime. Moreover, in starting so large, he leaves the chaos no room to escalate beyond barked shouts and caps-lock acting. Essentially, this Boom Bang-a-Bang is all too ba-dum-tish.

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