The Diary of a Nobody*** (King’s Head Theatre)

Posted: January 23, 2015 in Theatre

 

IMG_4175If you have ever wondered what life could have been like before the invention of television, this show may provide the answer. Calling on friends, going to church, holding a seance, painting the bath red, paying a visit to the King’s Head Theatre and many other joyful pursuits are seen to entertain the Pooter family in 1888/89 in this adaptation of a novel by George and Weedon Grossmith, which had previously appeared as weekly episodes in Punch. Adaptor/Director Mary Franklin’s production for Rough Haired Pointer is made to resemble a cartoon from that publication, the sets and costumes all being creamy white with details sketched on them. The point that these are ordinary people who blend into the background is well made, but this look, combined with generous measures of comic over-acting and cross dressing, gives the show the feel of theatre of the absurd. Charles Pooter (Jake Curran), a clerk, lives with his wife Carrie (Jordan Mallory-Skinner), their black sheep son Lupin (George Fouracres) and maid (Geordie Wright) in the middle class London suburb of Holloway. Charles reasons that the fact that he does not happen to be a “Somebody” should not prevent him from publishing his diary and he begins to put down on paper all the details of his family’s daily life. The joke lies in mundane everyday incidents being blown up to seem important, but the tone is too affectionate to be considered satire. The same four actors take on all the roles of characters who come into the Pooters’ lives – Mr Cummings and Mr Gowing come and go, Miss Daisy Mutlar is beneath them and an unsuitable fiancee for Lupin, Mr Murray Posh is a rung or two above them, and so on. The hierarchic structure of Victorian society is exposed for laughs, but the production also has modern touches which pose the question: what is so different in 2015? Played with the verve and enthusiasm of a varsity revue, the humour flags only occasionally during the show’s 100 minutes (shorter could perhaps have meant sharper), poking gentle fun at our ancestors and, most probably, ourselves

Performance date: 23 January 2015

Runs until: 14 February 2015

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