A cast of twelve people take turns in a fast-paced production, capturing various conversations that apparently took place between people, in public places. This is, of course, an organized selection – if it were just surreptitiously recording people and staging whatever was heard, there would be considerably more aggression, confrontation and foul language than there is here. And that is the “problem”, mine of quotation marks, with a production like Another eavesdropping: although very entertaining, it is also a portrait of London that is a little too good.
I think, for example, of a man shouting into his phone at the top of his voice outside Waterloo station, stating emphatically: “I! Do! Not! Need! Anger! Management!” adding, “F— you!“, or the various death threats I overhear on any given day, usually followed by someone calling for calm and civility, other than when someone has yelled, “Die Tony Blair!“when I was walking through Trafalgar Square – no one dissented. The closest thing in this production of high-octane fury and frustration is a man who challenges a pharmacist over a repeat prescription gone wrong, and someone is called a “dumb bitch.” for unexplained reasons.
Again, there is a difference between inevitably hearing everything that is shouted in the din of London traffic and the art, if you can call it that, of eavesdropping. To make sense of a conversation, especially without a frame or context as presented on this show, you have to hear both sides of it. This means that despite the ubiquity of the mobile phone, its use in this production is, in a word, sparse.
The conventional story arc is, technically, absent, and while on paper there’s nothing in character development and few details about the various people the audience is introduced to throughout the journey, it’s nonetheless a gripping insight into the kind of stuff people are talking about these days. And it’s rarely what the mainstream media would want their viewers, listeners and readers to consider as news stories.
Gloriously apolitical, in that no discernible agenda is imposed on the audience, the content is broad enough that at least some of it will be relevant to most residents of the capital. London, for example, attracts more than its fair share of religious crazies who think their message is appealing but is actually repulsive by dooming everyone to hell. One of the less zany examples is given in this show. All in all, it’s not refreshingly shocking, but it’s not bland and boring either.
The actors are dressed in solid color T-shirts and sit, remarkably unmoved, on both sides of the stage when not in any given scene. A large number of accessories are stored in lockers for easy access, and since they are visible to the public throughout, curious customers can have fun guessing what various objects could be used for before anyone else does. deploy them. An intriguing portrait of city life, this is an enjoyable and energetic production.
Comment by Chris Omaweng
It is an honest, poignant, funny and authentic reflection on society that captivatingly reflects the attitudes and opinions of people living their lives in and around London in 2022.
Produced by Angel Theater Company
Conceptualized and produced by John Patterson Lighting Designer: Angus Chisholm Production Assistant and Light/Sound Operator: Days Lowey
Ben Armitage, Anna Bonnett, Georgia Dawson, Kieran Dooner, Kitty Evans, Beatrice Hyde, Gordana Kostic, James Lee, Taylor Pope, Laura Shipler Chico, Christie Silvester, Ricky Zalman
From Tuesday September 20 to Saturday October 1, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.