Shropshire Events and Whats On Guide

Shropshire Events and Whats On Guide

Theatre Review : Love, Lies and Taxidermy

love-lies-and-taxidermy3-3Chris Eldon Lee reviews ‘Love, Lies and Taxidermy’… which  is at Theatre Clwyd until Saturday 12th November.

This is a real rip tide of a show…so fast, furious and unpredictable I was reaching for my buoyancy aid. I was swamped with stories, deluged with details and occasionally all at sea…but I loved all 70 swish-swashing minutes of it.

Writer Alan Harris has packed enough material for a dozen sketch shows into his whacky, helter-skelter script and the machine gun team of three actors do everything but stand on their heads to put across a whole community of characters. They have nothing but themselves to play with. The props and settings are entirely in the audience’s minds – so the degree of sleaze is entirely up to you.

We are in Merthyr Tydfil…the town that is the butt end of Welsh jokes as Craven Arms is to Shropshire (except that all roads lead to Tesco’s, rather than Tuffin’s). Frankly the new superstore is ruining people’s lives. It’s putting small tradesmen out of business and their wives use it as the local pick up joint. Their teenagers, meanwhile, have troubles of their own.

Young half-Polish Valentine will do anything to save his parent’s marriage… including theft. Ashley, the pretty girl he meets, will do anything to save her father’s debt-ridden Mr Tutti-Frutti van.…including porn.

The dialogues tumble with witty one liners and home truths. Ashley has tried to make money by volunteering for medical trails but faints as soon as a syringe is produced. Valentine’s father impresses upon his son the need for Polish immigrants to ‘fit in’ better than everybody else. So the audience is alternately nodding sagely … and falling about. I always love shows where the laughter is so scattergun, audience members look at each other to see what they are missing. The comedy may lurch into cynicism and sarcasm but it is never less that joyously funny and there is oodles of it.

So much for the Love and Lies. It’s Valentine’s father Jacob who’s into Taxidermy. It’s not a subject I’ve thought about much. There are plenty of gags to be had, obviously,  but Harris royally ennobles the profession which transforms lives and defies death. The good thing about stuffed birds is that they don’t fly off…and what’s wrong with a bedside badger table lamp?

Director George Perrin works wonders. With only flesh and blood and sound and light on his pallet, he is devilishly clever at ensuring the scenes flash by with minimal confusion. Location, time of day and who is playing who and why are pinpointed with precision. The superbly spot-on cast of three is clearly having a great time. Remy Beasley is quite fabulous, playing all the women from reluctant skin flick debutant; to dominant, gobby mother; to man-hungry Conservative Club regular. Andy Rush gives Valentine a coy, innocent feel and Richard Corgan is hugely versatile as he ranges from an authentically honest immigrant to a very cartoonish and decidedly dodgy film director. And, of course, they all play everyone else in Merthyr – as the stories all collide into a homely High Noon conclusion.

It’s a well-spun dizzy tale; lovably lunatic and full of fun. Dive in and enjoy.


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