REVIEW: CLICHE by Dani Carbery Etcetera Theatre

PUBLISHED: 12:02 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:31 07 September 2010

Three star rating A girl lies on the crimson carpeted floor. She doesn t move. She has her back to us and we cannot see her face. A man has a bottle in his hand; he seems to threaten her with it. Then he laughs

CLICHE

by Dani Carbery

Etcetera Theatre

Three star rating

A girl lies on the crimson carpeted floor. She doesn't move. She has her back to us and we cannot see her face. A man has a bottle in his hand; he seems to threaten her with it. Then he laughs.

Cliche (Andy Cresswell) has killed his wife, played with amazing passivity by Penny Scott-Andrews. We need to know why he has done this. He loves her passionately and doesn't seem to realise she is dead. He talks to her as if she was listening and speaking back to him. The phone rings constantly - Tanya's mother, her friends - all wishing her a happy birthday and all mention "The Shit" when they refer to Cliché who they believe beats her up regularly and they suspect domestic violence. So has he at last struck the fatal blow? Is he going to get away with it? What had she done to justify his anger?

None of the friends can understand why she doesn't just leave him.

There is obviously something that is holding them together.

He turns her over on the floor and we see that she has a bloody injury on the side of her head. It makes him retch. But he is not too fazed - he carries her on to the sofa and talks to her, sitting her on his knee like a morbid ventriloquist's dummy.

This is a first play by actress/ poet Carbery. She falls into verse and rhyme frequently throughout, but this adds variation and works well as it is virtually a monologue - apart from the constant interruptions on the telephone and the beating on the door - people getting more and more worried that Tanya apparently refuses to speak to them. At first the callers believe she is on her own, then begin to realise that "The Shit" has returned and that she may be in danger. So what is the outcome of this puzzle? Nip along to Camden Town and find out. Well directed by James Claridge and sponsored by the charity Mankind, it was a deserved hit at the Brighton festival.

Until October 26.

Aline Waites

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