BREXIT

If someone were to ask me what BREXIT (the show) was all about, I’d find it difficult to sum it up in a few words. Set a few days before the Brexit Referendum, BREXIT, by Tom Corradini Teatro is a hard show to pin down.

BREXIT by Tom Corradini Teatro is a hard show to pin down.

My inkling is that this is a show designed for an international audience. It's packed full of physical theatre and meant to be enjoyed on a European tour. Certainly Tom’s track record of shows would suggest that this is familiar ground. Previous shows such as Gran Consiglio (Mussolini) and I Fratelli Lehman were physical comedies, telling the respective tales of Mussolini and the Lehman Brothers, with very limited language.

Corradini Teatro's most recent work, BREXIT, has an underlying narrative throughout about a father and son, Charles and Eric, one of whom supported Leave and the other, Remain. Physical comedy is peppered throughout the piece, with mimed showering, watching TV and alarm clocks, and is certainly done with some aplomb. The physical comedy parts were well executed, but still left the impression of a drama school warm-up exercise - albeit from students at the top of their class.

Adding in the narrative and dialogue about father and son further took it away from just being a physical comedy, which made me question whether this was as suitable as his previous work for international audiences. The narrative was confusing, going backwards and forwards in time, and lacked a successful hook. Without any physical theatre, the narrative would have left this show feeling rather lightweight.

When the respective parts came together, there were moments where I could see a brilliantly engaging production. Jeremy and David, the puppets explaining the Houses of Parliament or the British Empire, were a fantastic way to get across a complicated topic to the audience. There were also moments where the physical performance was a masterclass, such as the physicality of becoming dogs or, my personal favourite, eating the 'Chicken Ha'.

Ultimately, this came across as a jumble sale of a show. You were never sure what you going be there, there was no clear theme, and items seemed to be put randomly together. Brexit is somewhat old-hat these days and a show about it needs to offer something new. BREXIT (the show) is an enjoyable hour, but one that needed to be clearer about its audience, its message and what it was trying to achieve.

Reviews by Nicholas Abrams

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★★★★
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★★★
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Performances

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The Blurb

One country, one family. United in blood, divided in spirit. June 2016. A few days before the Brexit referendum. A father and son debate their stance on the vote. They are united in blood but divided in spirit. The two characters argue their respective positions while digressing on the essence of what being British and European really means to them. The debate turns from surreal to grotesque until both of them cast their vote... A show about freedom, loss and identity with elements of mime and physical theatre, premiered at the 2018 Avignon Theatre Festival.

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