To continue with, what I like to call an Evaluation, of a few of the shows playing at St Mary’s University College, this evaluation or ‘valuation’ would better suit the piece Too Loud a Solitude devised by the 2nd Year Physical Theatre Company.
A ‘free adaptation’ of the novel I Served the King of England by Bohumil Hrabal, we chart the rise of protagonist Milos (Matt Crouziéres – Old and Tuan Ly – Young) to monetary power after he becomes aquainted particularly well with some wealthy diners of the restaurant of his new found job in Old Town Prague. Milos becomes the envy of his fellow waiters as he acquires more funds for himself from the most loyal customers until, after some time, he falls in love, which inevitably becomes his downfall when he gets caught canoodling on duty by his boss, Mr Skrivánek (Shayan Ali) and loses his job. Milos and his love Lisé (Jacqueline Andrews) give birth to a child which becomes the new responsibility and here is where the story becomes a little unfocused and slightly jumbled. Milos loses Lisé to the war, his money takes a background role and he is unable to cope with the upbringing of the child.
The piece was entertaining, energetic and overall very enjoyable. The large playing space was used second to none with slick sequences of moving cubes and tossing table cloths supporting the story nicely. With a particular European style, largley influenced by director Kasia Zaremba-Byrne (those of you familiar with NIEwill be aware of the style) ideas were executed with much precision and clarity aiding undoubtedly.
The piece had it’s summation of downsides – namely the ensemble which often felt stodgy and broken, in turn hindering the piece somewhat and entertaining as it was, the entertainment only went so far as when the ending was all too predictable with no real sense of surprise. I could often sit comfortably in my chair and not feel challenged in any part of the piece, built up of sensitive storytelling, inventive images and aesthetically pleasing movement sequences and so this is where my main drawback was – What was the piece actually trying to say?
Was it disagreeing with the idea of stinking rich fat-cats or the infallible consequences of war. Perhaps it wasn’t trying to say anything and it was up to the audience to make up their minds, however, even if that was the case, I didn’t know what to think.
The piece had some excellent moments, notably the ballroom dance duet across the moving tables which was performed with class and poise and there were a few nice individual performances, although nothing outstanding. Overall, the devised piece was played with a style that has become signature of Zaremba-Byrne’s work, it is astutely watchable and this is where I found myself. It was an hour well spent, however I did leave feeling somewhat hungry, I needed something to cling onto other than some pretty pictures.