The Pit, Barbican Centre
Where: West End
4 March 2010 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews "REGARD THE DRUM", booms our narrator before hitting it to signify another name ticked off his roll-call of death in Daniel Hit by a Train, the second installment in Lone Twin’s The Catastrophe Trilogy. The show re-enacts the deaths of 53 people who died in acts of heroism in Victorian London. Pretty morbid stuff, but the piece deals with each loss so matter-of-factly there’s little chance to get maudlin. “Who died drowning?’’ asks the narrator. A show of hands goes up. “I did”, says a cast member, stepping forward. “This is me drowning.” They go limp, there’s a moment’s pause and the drum sounds. Next.
This borderline facetious rendering of tragedy just about works. There’s one moment where cast member
Guy Dartnell looks as if he might be just about to push the boundaries of taste a bit too far with an impersonation of an eight-year-old boy on fire, but thankfully he simply looks at the audience for a pregnant pause.
Ten deaths in and the format starts to wear however. I’m beginning to have unpleasant hopes that a train will come along to finish off all the 43 remaining unfortunates. Life’s short, death is unexpected, there’s redemption in selfless acts, however pointless - I get it.
But what saves the production are its moments of music hall theatricality. Dancing and singing somehow lend themselves to this grim treatment of mortality and seem in keeping with the spirit of Victoriana entertainment. Particularly well done is the piece about the music hall performer whose skirt catches fire. The cast also demonstrate they are adept at evoking almost any situation with masterful movements and mime.
Although this particular show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s still a pleasure to watch Lone Twin at the top of their game.
- Kathleen Hall
Subscribe to our free newsletter