Marriage is for people in institutions. Or so it seems, after watching Inspector Sands' latest offering If That’s All There Is at a busy BAC last night. Renowned for their multi-disciplined approach to performance, Inspector Sands' stock is looking pretty bullish at the moment, and on this evidence, deservedly so.
On a sparse but well used stage, this weird, wonderful and funny three-hander lifts the lid on the lives of Daniel and Francis as they trip, stumble and fall into pre-wedding psychosis. They're ably assisted by a psychotherapist - more John Wayne than Sigmund Freud - and an awkward teenage intern, whose work experience stint with Francis will ensure she herself will never marry.
Ben Lewis is pitch perfect as the middle-of-the-road, middle management, middle class Daniel and his brilliant, yet super dull groom’s speech is reminiscent of anyone who speaks at a wedding and really shouldn’t. Lucinka Eisler also captivates as the unhinged Francis. At times hilarious at others deeply spooky, anyone who rubs onion in their face every night commands a certain respect.
Perhaps the pick of the bunch though is Giulia Innocenti, doubling as both the Therapist and the Intern Christina, whose characterisation is bang on and so disctinct that it took until her second entrance as the latter for me to realise it was the same actor.
Slick costume, location and in the case of Giulia Innocenti, character changes must also be noted and a cap tipped in the direction of associate director Lu Kemp. A stand-out moment arrives when Daniel deftly placed Francis on her desk from a seemingly impossible position whilst giving his undivided attention to his therapist.
There's a lovely sense of poetry throughout and when things seem to be becoming too stylised there's light relief from wonderfully executed set pieces. My favourite involved a wig, an electric fan and some shredded paper… (you’ll just have to go and see it). My only concerns were a few lengthy pauses and a zero tolerance on sentiment. However, with performances of such strength and versatility, who cares?
- Ed Clark