Sunday, November 11, 2007

It was much better than it sounds (Cloud Nine - Almeida Theatre)

Trying to explain the plot of Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine to my philistine work mates was a thankless task. I mean how hard can it be to grasp a plot where the first act is set in 19th Century colonial Africa and the second in Clapham in 1979; but only 25 years have passed for the characters. Oh and all of the actors swap roles (and in many cases genders) at the interval. I mean compared to the latest series of Spooks its positively naturalistic.

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend going to the Almeida's excellent revival for the plot, nor for that matter the politics. Although the firsts acts comic book portrayal of colonialism still hits the mark, I think the second has to some extent aged badly. The idea of lesbian single mums, transgender step-dads, and masturbating Grandmas hardly seem shocking these days (at least from where I sit). But this is a production stuffed full with excellent performances and viciously funny vignettes. Nicola Walker's description of an old lady rediscovering the joys of self pleasure is worth the ticket price alone.

Worth catching before it closes next month.


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