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Loitering with Intention (Pride Fringe - Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Venue: Taurus
Where: Manchester

William (Neil Ashton) and Benjamin (Kurt Nikko) try to offset the tension waiting for an important appointment by discussing their obsessions and irritations. The subjects include the behaviour of bus passengers, Dr. Who, John Barrowman, pavement cyclists, the behaviour of old people in supermarkets and the contribution of Simon Cowell to music. The list could go on and on and God knows the writers, Alistair Jarvie and Neil Dymond-Green, certainly do.

While the subjects might be of universal interest to an audience it is less certain how far Loitering with Intention can be classed as a play rather than a loosely connected series of monologues or opinion pieces. The characters are under-developed.  William once slept with a woman while under the influence and has rather studied eccentricities and Benjamin is a lecturer. That’s pretty much all we get for sparse background details so Ashton and Nikko feel more like mouthpieces for the writers rather than actual people.

Jarvie and Dymond-Green offer some good lines – "He has a body from Baywatch and a face from Crime Watch. But the writers seem anxious to avoid controversy or causing offence. The subjects discussed are agonisingly trivial. Clarifying that the remark applies to Hen parties quickly mitigates a complaint about ‘straights’ encroaching on Manchester’s Gay Village.

Director Helen Parry compensates for the inherent lack of drama with a theatrical, rather than a naturalistic, approach to the material. This holds the interest but feels artificial. There is no sense of the couple becoming more stressed as they approach the point of no return. They seem under pressure from the start and ultimately become wearying. By the end of the play it feels like you have been shouted at for an hour about things that do not really merit so much passion. Apart from Dr. Who, of course.

- Dave Cunningham


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