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Frustrations aplenty over hit-and-miss double bill



Review by Allison Browning

THE double-billing of Trip's Cinch and Three More Sleepless Nights, presented by Twice as Loud), both deal with issues of communication, truth, lies, sex and frustration, at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre.

And it's certainly a big task to put two short shows together with similar heavy themes.

It could have succeeded to grab the audience and pull them into the
despair and confusion of the characters, but, unfortunately, did not, mostly due to the under-developed performances of its principal players.

Trips Cinch, for instance, explores the gaps between truth and fiction as a wealthy businessman is accused of rape by a lower class, single woman.

The show began on a bad footing, as the opening scene should have been a winner. It had the potential to confuse the audience with the oddity of the opening lines and sexual interaction.

Unfortunately, this did not happen. The actors had not fully embodied their characters and the result was
disappointment.

There was very little physical energy with the performers relying on facial expression, which was often masked by blocking choices.

A little relief came with the entrance of Lucy, played by Enid Gayle, who gave the audience a little more faith that there was some substance to this show.

The set didn't help a great deal, with Mr Trip's office poorly represented and the performance space generally was not utilised to its full
potential.

This was, however, remedied in the next play, Three More Sleepless
Nights,
which delves into two frustrated marriages and the complete lack of communication between them.

Old friendships are tested, along with the individuals themselves, who continue to resort to old patterns
of behavior, in order not to look within.

The show begins with an argument between Margaret and Frank, the scene beautifully set, and creating a complete lack of domestic bliss.

Simple little touches, such as a child crying from another room, worn bed clothes and simple props helped to accentuate the frustration and anxiety presented in the show.

But the next scene was a little more confusing, with the audience not sure of the nature of Dawn and Pete's relationship.

Were they dating? Who's house
is it?

It is only later that it is revealed that they are married with children, but this was not clear in the character's relationship.

Ian Rixon was, however, very engaging as Pete, although his wonderful performance did not get the support it deserved.

Caroline Ross' portrayal of Dawn also felt under-developed and a little flat, yet with more physical energy and research (in both shows) this could be remedied.

The double billing proved to be mostly a hit and miss affair, with some 'stand out performances' mixed with those that were anything but.

The production is showing at the Lion and Unicorn Pub Theatre, so it might be a good idea to bring your drink in with you.

The Lion & Unicorn Theatre, 42 Gaisford Street, Kentish Town, from January 27 to February 8, 2004. There will be performances from Tuesday to Saturday, each week, at 7.30pm, and on Sunday at 6.30pm. Tickets are priced at £10 (£8 concessions). Tel: 020 7485 9897.

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