Thursday, 27 October 2011

Berkoff KVETCHING in North London

How do you find an exciting theatre venue in London? Go to a pub of course! The Kings Head Pub in Angel to be exact, which plays host to London’s Little Opera House theatre located at the back of this quaint local.

‘Kvetch’, a play written by Stephen Berkoff is the latest performance to take over this inquisitive venue. Directed by Julio Maria Martino this exuberant animated performance is suitably adapted to the intimate space at the Kings Head Theatre.
For any fan of Berkoffs work this is an absolute must, with the cast of five producing highly physical forms and movements displaying the suburban American Jewish characters in Kvetch. For any non Berkoff fan (‘Berkoff who?’) then this play is still a must see event; its exceedingly witty writing and visual performance displays with minimal set cleverly pushes you on a roller-coaster ride of anxiety and laughs.
The play is a portrayal of a Jewish family in America whose dinner party event plays host to the individual characters revealing their anxieties, inner voices and their own ‘ketches’ [According to the dictionary, Kvetch is a piece of American slang, derived from Yiddish, meaning a chronic, whining complainer].

“Kvetch is a study of the effects of anxiety on the nagging kvetch that keeps you awake,” Berkoff.

Hilariously the play stops and starts mid scene, allowing time for the characters to fret, fear and crumble as their inner thoughts (and what their characters are really thinking) wittily start to become the main focus of the play. The play continues to provoke the audience to laugh aloud at the realisation of the self-recognition of these thoughts and how common these shared feelings are with our lives.
Josh Cole plays Frank; a textile salesman with a stay at home wife Donna (played by Dagmar Döring). At work, Frank is known as the Kvetch for his high anxiety and fretfulness, in fact that the act of telling a simple joke even makes him consider the moralities of his own worth and the suicidal fear of missing the punch line of the joke!

Hal, played by the superb Solo artist Dickie Beau. Recently Hal’s wife has left him and his lonely nights are his own fears and his Kvetch, he struggles to handle social interactions and situations, especially when ask; “So what do you do with your evenings alone Hal?”. He is the shy and timid work colleague of Frank and is invited to the dinner party; where his fears are lively and hilariously played out. Beau’s comic timing and physical attributes are first class as his effortlessly floats from one emotion into the next. His characterisation of the worryingly good friend of Frank allows the audience to join him on his emotions of despair, light-heartedness and joy of his own resolve. A truly magnificent performance from Beau.
Referred to as ‘a cartoon vision of our waking nightmares’, Berkoff’s writing is packed full of high adrenalin physicality exploring the funny deeper fears about social interactions, which allows the spectator to jokily reminisce about their own existence and social inept.
With shocking twist endings we see the characters’ lives change, maybe for the better- maybe for the worse in the second act, where their simple choices in life result in their future happiness- if that be attainable for them?

“Fear of failure or success, fear of illness, fear of sex, fear of being gay, fear of blacks or whites, fear of not understanding the joke, fear of Armageddon, fear of fear: Kvetch is an unsparingly black comic examination of a profound cultural malady: FEAR” Kings Theatre.
This performance at the Kings Head is not to be avoided, filled with clever quips and astounding performances within this intriguing space. A must see!

KVETCH on till 4TH November 2011, at the Kings Head Theatre, Angel.

BOX OFFICE - 0207 478 0160

Images: and Kings Theatre website.

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