23 April 2012

All New People by Zach Braff

Charlie - Zach Braff Emma - Eve Myles Myron - Paul Hilton Kim - Susannah Fielding Special Thanks To David Bradley, Joseph Millson and Amanda Redman Directed by Peter DuBois and designed by Alexander Dodge. Seen in the last week of the run in good seat care of LastMinute.com at the Duke of York's Theatre

I have a few issues with this piece but since I wish to retain Mr Braff on the lofty perch I so happily made for him in 2004, I will conclude that I was unfortunate to attend on a rare 'bad night' and by bad, I must ask that you, the audience take some of the blame.
I know there's a good text in here. I trust this man to make me laugh and think in a carefully calibrated mind cradle. It was jarred by Ms Myles oddly faux, plumy accent, the likes of which has been used to better effect by Ms Paltrow, and the obnoxious tones adopted by Ms Fielding.

This is a beautiful, tiny, intimate theatre. There's no need to bellow and grandstand. Who can forget Mr Gambon's "Eh Joe" gently and captivatingly intoned here? The beauty of Mr Braff's text surely lies in part within the lovely laconic delivery I was hoping for but how could that happen with the entire cast having to do battle with The Loudest Projector In London?

The scenes projected from said seemingly steam-powered installation were beautifully cast and well metered. I thoroughly enjoy a bit of mixed media in the theatre but freeze-framing on the stage to allow for their interjection seemed too mannered and old fashioned. This sense was not aided by some of my neighbours feeling it was just the right time to check their glaring phones or break out, I kid you not, the meat pies from their noisy wrappers.

The male cast were certainly the most comfortable to watch and I'll always try to catch a live one from Mr Hilton but tonight seemed fragmented, almost as though the ladies didn't see the piece in the same way as the writer, or dare I even say the director. Lovely pop-cultural references seemed to be swallowed and lost on the audience around me so rather than a room full of conspiratorial strangers, I felt lonely and a tiny bit empty. I comforted myself by musing over the themes and set-ups seen here that also occur in Garden State. This boy has issues.

"That's pretty damn random of you, Largeman."