A Resounding Tinkle

Visiting the theatre to watch a piece advertised as 'the unstageable play', you’re about to see either a well-thought-out staging of a lost classic or an arrogant ensemble performing for personal prestige alone. Fortunately, Steel Theatre's production of A Resounding Tinkle is the former.1950s absurdism at its lip-bitingly self-aware finest, the play takes great pleasure in exposing the nuances of theatrical technique. In a memorable sequence the middle-class Bro and Middie Paradock fellate their intellects by dismantling comic technique, only to have the audience in hysterics later in their execution of the very sequence just evaluated and explained. Whereas Osborne rejected pre-1950s British theatre, N. F. Simpson chooses instead to deconstruct it before our eyes, taking great pleasure in laying metaphor bare for our bemused enjoyment. The juxtaposition of the play's main characters between those with pretensions of grandeur and the hedonistic northerners is a prime example.The main roles are given great body by some excellent performances; but the other characters thrown carelessly into the play provide the most food for thought. Ben Higgins' writer is simply brilliant: a wonderfully open and warm performance giving the audience much needed respite from the chaos that he supposedly conceived. If the play is unstageable it was not evident here. Kim Moakes has done an inspired job, moving the performance around the stage and keeping the dangerously numerous entrances fresh. I would have preferred the set to compliment the anarchy of both script and performance, but when the final scene eases into its devastating parody of theatre critics (led by an engrossing and absorbing Alex Morgan) it’s difficult to say anything the play doesn't acknowledge itself. If you love British theatre, enjoy having it playfully broken down before you. If you hate it, enjoy its rejection!

Reviews by Michael Lee

Apollo/Dionysus

★★★★★

The Blurb

Bro and Middie Paradock are your average couple; they'’re interested in politics, enjoy a good book with coffee, and get an elephant delivered once a year. But what happens when the elephant is the wrong size? And is it really possible to turn Bro into a computer? Will the technician hold up the action for longer than is absolutely necessary? Perhaps the arrival of son, Don will return life to normality. This, of course, entirely depends on what normality is and whether there was any of it in the first place.