Presto

12 February 2010

Giverny Tattersfield tries to titter a little

Corpus Christi Playroom – 9.30pm Tues 9th-Sat 13th February 2010

2/5

“Welcome. Please find a seat and sit on it. Obviously.” I sat in my seat, as instructed by the projection on the wall, taking refuge from my ever-persistent essay deadlines in the quasi-legitimate work-dodging excuse of watching ‘Presto’. I admit that the name, ‘Presto’, had initially conjured up illusions of stars and smoke for me, the cloaks of magicians and the sequins of coiffed assistants, and of course many fluffy white bunnies being pulled out of shiny black hats. What I was to play witness to, however, was something quite different.

It was commented in the play that there was a kind of ‘tizer and scented gel pens’ induced high, and, as much as I chuckled along with the dialogues and monologues and pre-recorded sketches, I must admit the self-consciousness of the production was akin to the giddiness evoked by adolescent teenagers sniffing the heady aromas of WHSmith’s latest range of scented writing implements. Yet, I did laugh. Occasionally

The use of relevant cultural and local references in the play was entertaining, but the vitriol directed at Emma Watson, Marilyn Manson or Patrick Swayze did, even for someone who’s not the biggest fan of any of them, seem a little random. But, then again, the entire show was random; pennies fell out of Twix wrappers, trumpets were made of purple paper and the play began and ended with a magic trick.

Although ‘Presto’ was sometimes heavy handed with its humour, it was good natured and unassuming. The actors were dynamic and managed to present a world of illusion and chaos with a sense of well-meaning grace. Their parody of ‘Avatar’ was pretty funny, and technical stumbles somehow added to its amateur charm.

This is not a performance of polish, by any means, but there were moments with potential. The play wanted to articulate the ‘silence of… screaming’, but in many ways I think they may have demonstrated the confusion of screaming into silence for no particular reason. One thing the play did ponder was the difficulty for people to articulate themselves to each other.

If you are looking for a little bit of madness this week then pop along; it might not be the most profound play in the world, but it does offer an entertaining interpretation of life, ‘all you need is love, laughter… and skin’. Decide for yourself, if you dare.