Reboot Live: Episode Five
Reboot Live: Episode Five. Image uncredited.
Entering into its final few furlongs, Reboot Live 2020 finds itself well on course to cross the finish line. Even so, Reboot Live: Episode Five shows a few tired legs as it heads into the penultimate hurdles. Beginning with Lisa Walsh's Hump, which might more accurately be called The Tingle Redux. Originally called The Tingle and featured as part of The Corps Ensembles delightful Christmas Craicers in 2019, Walsh's once charming tale of two midlife lonely hearts is obviously no believer in 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. Tagging on a frenzied opening and dispensing with Jed Murray as barman, among other things, where The Tingle lived up to its name, alas, so too does Hump. A tale of two lost souls which risks being little more than misery loving company.
Deirdre Wiseman in Hump. Image by Cate Reid.
A midlife crisis with a beard, Michael Bates's Oedipal American busker has been twice left stranded by Tinder dates. And it's easy to see why. Forever lamenting his sacred mother, a former nurse, Bates's Dan is hoping it's third time lucky when he meets up with Deborah Wiseman's widowed nurse. As drinks are sipped and compliments given, the audience eavesdrops on talk of death, spirituality, and grief as the funless daters find common ground. With Hillary Dziminski's direction looking as jittery and nervous as the unsettled daters, the whole feels unsure of itself, with a hardworking Bates and Wiseman often working too hard at times. Which is a shame, for first time round Walsh's play had much more going for it, with direction and performances looking a lot more assured. This time, if you get the occasional shudder, you don't feel the tingle half as much.
Rodrigo Ternevoy in Saudade. Image by Cate Reid.
Showing a lot of talk and too little theatrics Saudade, written by André Silviera & Rodrigo Ternevoy, delivers a seated letter reading switching between Brazilian and English. One in which Ternevoy as a gay Brazilian man, experiencing self isolation in Ireland, relays his thoughts and experiences which are then relayed in English by Barry John Kinsella. As a literary device, the approach is not without merit; theatrically though, it's quite dull. Reciting lots of overly long Brazilian passages risks the audience zoning out while waiting for a translation. Which, when it arrives, rarely has enough meat on the bone. Waiting to talk, Ternevoy and Kinsella sit like cyborgs on mute. It's not that Ternevoy's character isn't likeable, or his subjective experiences without personality, its just, objectively, they don't make for visually arresting theatre, with the writing pitched at the level of a warm inspirational quote. Director Peter Reid's attempt to load the ending delivers too little too late, hinting at what should have been. For there's a lot of charm in Saudade, but it needs to get up and dig deeper.
Neill Fleming and Deirdre Wiseman in Melody. Image by Cate Reid.
Travelling full circle the night ends with another bout of eavesdropping on two dating oddballs in Deirdre Kinahan's untidy Melody. Looking like a screenplay in development, two hopefuls meet, eat, and share a passion for listening to music outdoors. And maybe a secret or two that could trip them up. Though any half alert audience member will spot the secret a mile off. Resembling a charming, madcap Ealing comedy at times, Kinahan's tale of Eat, Eat, Love sees William and Kathleen gorge on food while disgorging exposition in which some obvious plot details are planted. Clunkily directed by Jed Murray, the whole is salvaged by strong performances from Neill Fleming and Deborah Wiseman who deliver enough edible moments to make for a tasty snack.
With one episode to go, Reboot Live 2020 has gone a long way in bringing live theatre back before a live audience. Episode Five might not be its greatest moment, but it's still great seeing such moments being played out on stage.
Reboot Live 2020 runs at The International Bar on various dates till September 13.
Episode Five runs till September 13.
For more information, visit Reboot Live 2020.