REVIEW: RITES OF PRIVACY New End Theatre Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 15:16 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:44 07 September 2010

TWO STAR RATING David Rhodes is a lanky shaven-headed actor who was born into a Jewish family with a cruel but charming father. He delighted in secretly dressing up in his mother s clothes from an early age and, in this one-man show, he gives thumbnail sk

TWO STAR RATING

David Rhodes is a lanky shaven-headed actor who was born into a Jewish family with a cruel but charming father. He delighted in secretly dressing up in his mother's clothes from an early age and, in this one-man show, he gives thumbnail sketches about five other people, who are confessing a dark secret.

The setting is a dressing room with a rail holding all his costumes and a table complete with vanity make-up case. He relates his own story while making up as his various characters. There are some dun-coloured curtains acting as backcloth to the playlets onto which are projected occasion pictures of woodland scenes.

His first character is a southern belle, dressed up in pink champagne-coloured satin. She gives a detailed history of her love affair with her husband and his unexpected death

which is her secret.

He then becomes a young man from the only Jewish family in New Hampshire, whose confession is the true story of how he saved his young brother from drowning.

After this, there is a Rabbi who feels guilty that all his family were lost in the Holocaust because his father never informed them of how they could get away.

Then comes a female doctor who gives herself an abortion with a wooden spoon and tells us all the gory details of the operation.

Finally, he is a bouncy young man from Antwerp who gets involved in the New York gay scene - something he has never revealed to his proud parents.

The main problem is that all of the stories take so long to get to the point and each denouement is simply not dramatic enough to justify its preamble.

It is when he appears as himself and talks about his own life that he is most appealing. He believes in his ideal marriage and his understanding wife who encourages his homosexuality and his penchant for cross dressing. This is the story I would rather hear!

Until February 14.

Aline Waites

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