Can't Stay Away!

Can’t Stay Away! is a farce centred around an immigrant worker from Eastern Europe who has saved up some money and just wants to return home. He goes on an endless journey, encountering travail after travail as he attempts to hitch-hike his way back to his family with a sackful of gifts. Along the way, he gets robbed by bigoted youths, gets tricked by a malicious barmaid, but also befriends a kind son of a rich banker who goes out of his way to try and help this unfortunate traveller.

The cast is very big and it becomes flustering for the audience to watch them stomp on and off the stage

Most of the attempts at humour in this show come from crude caricatures and outlandish misfortunes that happen to the implausibly credulous main character. It abounds with faux-Eastern European accents, mishaps due to cultural differences and cheap physical gags. Though the show packs in a lot, nothing works and the baggy plot which tries to incorporate too many strands becomes ungainly and repetitive. The production seems to be aiming deliberately for an over-the-top Laurel and Hardy-style slapstick, but the jokes rarely work and little is redeemed in return for the show’s lack of nuance.

The cast is very big and it becomes flustering for the audience to watch them stomp on and off the stage: with there being frequent and rushed scene changes, the hyperactive movement becomes distracting. The audience is hammered on the head with the message that bankers are self-serving, greedy bastards, that UKIP supporters are nasty bigots, and that not all immigrants are scrounging benefits from the state. But nothing is added to these sentiments by putting on an entire play about them. At one point, the players make a gratuitous ‘we’re-at-the-Fringe’ metatheatrical joke, with allusions to performers handing out flyers on the Mile, but the gag feels desperate and the laughs were weak. It is an overall unpolished and rather chaotic production.

Reviews by Kyung Oh

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The Blurb

‘It was perfect’ ***** ( ‘Frankly wonderful’ **** (Scotsman). Based on Goldoni’s Harlequin’s 22 Misfortunes, critically acclaimed Fourth Monkey present Can’t Stay Away! In an hysterical climate of euro-scepticism and political parties kowtowing to the anti-immigration lobby an unlikely protagonist stands out. An immigrant who wants to be an emigrant! Desperate to return home, his attempt to leave this country for his own is thwarted at every turn.