Friends and Neighbours

NEXT DOOR

The REP Studio, Wednesday 2nd July, 2014

 

Presented as the second half of a double bill with Finger, Trigger, Bullet, Gun to kick off the REP’s BE Festival, this piece won last year’s first prize and audience prize, and now having seen it for myself, it’s easy to see why.

Two actors in an empty space, with only a few cardboard boxes that contain the props they need, re-enact the personal history of one, Ivan Hansen, our narrator – who has mad professor hair. The other characters are played, sometimes two at once, by Pekka Raikkonen whose strong features are impressively expressive and plastic. Ivan begins with the death of the man in the flat next door, a neighbour he hardly knew. This event leads him to reminisce about his friendships – there is plenty of fun with childhood chums, fishing, riding bicycles, skimming stones, in a dazzling display of physical comedy and mime, enhanced by sound and lighting effects. The timing is spot on.

Ivan considers how the changes in the world have made it possible for him in Denmark to be friends with Pekka in Finland – in the past they would never have met, or perhaps only on a battlefield. It’s a sweet and thoughtful piece, relentlessly inventive and performed with energy and brio by this likeable pair. Above all it is very entertaining. They incite us to introduce ourselves to the people beside and behind us – which is not as cringeworthy as it sounds. It’s all about making connections and building relationships – in contrast with the dominant (domino-ant) theme of the earlier play!

One piece of advice: accept the actors’ invitation to join them on stage for a shot of Gammel Dansk – but knock it back as quickly as you can!

next-door-1384894888

 

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About williamstafford

Novelist (Brough & Miller, sci fi, historical fantasy) Theatre critic http://williamstaffordnovelist.wordpress.com/ http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B008AD0YGO and Actor - I can often be found walking the streets of Stratford upon Avon in the guise of the Bard! View all posts by williamstafford

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