I am a Camera

I Am A Camera was an ambitious undertaking, and unfortunately this time it didn’t pay off. Some plays just don’t stand the test of time and this was one that perhaps should remain in the archives. To give the actors credit, they delivered a show. Lines were learnt and scene changes were smooth but if you can picture the German version of 'Allo 'Allo then you won’t’ be far off.

If you can picture the German version of ’Allo ‘Allo then you won’t be far off

It was obvious that none of the actors were German and there is nothing wrong with that, but the amount of ‘zees’ and ‘vees’ became unbearable. And dropping an ‘und’ into most sentences didn’t help with authenticity. Unfortunately for the show, the accents were too bad to surpass, slapstick at best and borderline racist at worst. This is unacceptable for contemporary theatre and with better directing and more focus on setting the scene well, this could have been wholly avoided.

There wasn’t a single character to latch onto and every comeuppance seemed well-deserved. It veered on the political, but there wasn’t enough context to make it interesting or particularly understandable.

We were presented with a group of people who seemed to dislike each other, and there was no chemistry to be found on stage. This may have been in-keeping with the 1950s propriety of when it was first performed, but with a bit of clever adaptation it could have been tailored to a contemporary audience. Given this, it was quite a shock when the two main protagonists hooked up. This was a little confusing as the only momentary glimpse of sexual tension came from Christopher (John Black), the lead, play fighting with Fritz on the bed.

We all understood that the housekeeper was supposed to be shrill, but it was quite unbearable when she was hamming up the accent to a cringe-worthy level. Unfortunately, her entries on stage served as more of a hindrance than a help in moving the plot forward. Sally Bowles was funny but there wasn’t enough time to make us feel for her situation. Although, having said that, it dragged so badly there was no further time wanted and we almost didn’t care for any further explanation. Blue Devil Productions are known for delivering great Fringe shows but someone really should have stopped this before it made it to the stage.

The delivery must be noted though, as clearly a lot of time and hard work had gone into rehearsing the play and the lines were delivered, but as a stage performance there does need to be a little more depth than just lines well said. For anyone interested in the story, I would highly recommend staying at home and watching Cabaret, a far better adaptation. 

Reviews by Bethan Troakes

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The Blurb

Is Sally Bowles a sophisticated thrill-seeker or vulnerable innocent abroad? She’s certainly a fascinating mass of contradictions. 'I am a Camera' is the play that 'Cabaret' is based on, adapted by John Van Druten from the work of Christopher Isherwood. It is a rich picture of the heartbreaking pathos, wicked comedy and divine decadence of 1931 Berlin. But soon the carefree indulgence must end as the Nazis smash their way to power. Chris and Sally's adventure in a city at a unique turning point in history is a profound and deeply resonating story, yet sexy and funny in the face of it all.

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