Wed 14 Nov 2012
I bet you expect this to be a review about EXTERNAL. I bet you expect this to convey some kind of personal opinion. I bet you expect this to be written to some degree of publishable standard. I bet you’re wondering, why on earth this review has started off in this rather obnoxious manner. The play is supposed to be a reply to another show.
What they have to say is something worth watching. Jen and Lucy give us a performance that proudly shows of its artifice, there is no invite here to suspend your disbelief . . .but carry on watching the show and you start to doubt yourself. I can’t really say much more about the plot without giving it away. Sorry.
Though the show may seem annoyingly conceptual at it’s start, it also is one of the most engaging beginnings I have witnessed. I really don’t want to spoil it for you but what I can say is this. Take a peak at the audience around you: it is the most perfect catalogue of Brits coping with awkwardness. (My own personal reaction was to re-instate my own personal importance by writing furiously in my notebook.)
The thing is, when a play is so obviously artsy, you keep running you finger along the seam looking for the snag; the bad acting or missed out word that reminds you that you are watching a show and thus giving you permission to be annoyed for pushing it’s over creative creativeness down your throat. However with EXTERNAL they coax you out of your distrust with real bruises and red faces. The on-stage relationship that so perfectly reflects a sibling rivalry (the desperate attempts for validation from the audience, the tantrums, the yelling are an average Sunday for me and my own sibling) makes you want to politely excuse yourself from the audience to give them some privacy. Ironically the plays exposure of its own non-reality seems to make it it’s most real.
Your mind desperately wants to unravel the puzzle, but you’re having far too much fun simply losing it to pay any attention.
Camela Cuison is the Editor of the Book Section of The Rabbit. Visit the Rabbit Books blog.