Analog.Ue**** (National Theatre Lyttelton, 25 February 2014)

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Theatre

05.1e040.Analog1The last time I saw Daniel Kitson, he sat down for over 90 minutes and talked constantly. On this occasion, he walks around for the same amount of time and speaks not a word.  The starting premise is a garage filled with old junk, including countless tape recorders of all shapes and sizes which are piled up on a table at the very back of the stage. The table is in bright light throughout, but the rest of the stage is barely lit at all. Kitson then proceeds to remove the recorders one by one, match them with their accessories, carry them downstage, connect them to power and amplifiers and play the tapes on each. The recordings are of Kitson’s voice telling the stories of Thomas and Trudie, separated in time by 36 years. The characters live dull, uninteresting lives, but Kitson’s objective is to make the mundane seem significant, using richly descriptive prose and astute observations of the minutiae of everyday living. Embracing themes on the nature of memories and memorabilia, the show is often funny, but more often poignant. Kitson’s strenuous labours, working as a kind of stage technician, themselves give importance to the insignificant and this show’s unusual format, which distances the audience from the characters, produces the very weird effect of bringing us closer to them. As with other Kitson shows, it seems a little too long, but it builds to achieve an emotional power that was unexpected, so much so that I found myself crying for much of the last 20 minutes. An entertainment that is completely unique.

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