12 April 2002 WOS Rating: Experimental theatre can either astound the audience with its inventive touches or annoy them because of its pretentious approach. Arabian Night falls between both camps. Based in a run down high-rise block of flats in Germany, the audience are taken on a journey into the lives of five individuals whose lives cross on a hot, humid and eventful night.
Sam Cox) is the caretaker of the block, frantically trying to determine the cause of a sudden water shortage. Fatima ( Stephanie Street) is preparing for the arrival of her boyfriend, Kalil ( Akbar Kurtha). His motorbike's outside but he's nowhere to be seen. Franziska ( Anna Hope) sleeps peacefully but, unbeknownst to her, a stranger is watching. What does he want and why does she dream of sheikhs, kidnappings and foreign climes?
Each actor displays excellent team skills here as they deliver monologues that provide the audience with bits to the missing puzzle of a plot. As each one speaks, we're that bit nearer to finding out the truth. Street manages to persuade the audience that the end result will be worth the wait through her excellent use of body language.
Gordon Anderson directs with a real sense of urgency and a style all his own. Unfortunately, the original touches and cleverness of this piece wear thin after about 40 minutes, and Anderson's slick direction can't disguise the fact that, although the actors are clearly having a ball, the script is running on emotional empty. I can't recall many people in the audience laughing, nodding or displaying any feeling during the entire evening.
What begins as a challenging piece of new drama, quite unlike anything you've probably seen before, ends up as overly clever, alienating and off-putting.
- Glenn Meads (reviewed at Manchester's
Royal Exchange) Related Content
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
: The economic impact of Arts & Culture in the UK Infographic When Culture Secretary Maria Miller called for the arts to make their "economic case" for subsidy, t... Plays Cast: Harry Potter star in Southwark Moment, more for Branagh's Macbeth Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will make her stage d... Brief Encounter with ... The Kite Runner's Ben Turner Ben Turner stars in the stage version of the bestselling book The Kite Runner, which runs at Liverpo... Titus Andronicus (RSC) This latest production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, to borrow from football punditry, is a p... : Britain's outdoor theatres Take Five With half-term approaching, the weather (hopefully) set to improve for the bank holiday weekend and ... West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square next month West End Live, a weekend of free entertainment from top London shows, will return to Trafalgar Squar... : 'I carry the ghost of Gregory Peck on my shoulders' Robert Sean Leonard Actor Robert Sean Leonard is currently playing Atticus Finch in Timothy Sheader's production of To K... To Kill A Mockingbird Twenty years ago, a young Robert Sean Leonard appeared on the London stage with Alan Alda in... X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p...