It’s themes and messages are extremely engaging, but it feels like it has more to say than it is successfully able to.
The performance is brimming with so much energy that it is impossible not to be curious about what is going on on stage, while at the same time it is frustratingly difficult to figure out what on earth it is you are seeing. The cast break from dialogue into songs or chants frequently, and it isn't always clear why. These outbursts are often accompanied with physical set pieces, flips, trips and even at one point, a cast wide impression of a giraffe. It's fascinating to watch but also deeply confusing.
The clarity suffers largely at the hands of the performers: the bottom line is that we cannot really make out a good half of the total lines. They're lost in a unintelligible limbo, somewhere between accents, dialects and the sheer speed at which they're being delivered. The same energy that is such an important aspect of the show is part of its undoing. That's a terrible shame, because the performers are excellent to watch in other respects. Some of the scenes towards the end of the play, particularly where the young rebel stirs up other workers, are exciting and tense - because of the context it's quite easy to follow what is happening here, despite not always making out what is said. If only that were the case for the whole play.
Perhaps Lunch simply doesn't export well. It’s themes and messages are extremely engaging, but it feels like it has more to say than it is successfully able to. An early monologue about the life of a prostitute is delivered well and gives us information about a world that most of us know nothing about. The fact that we see the two workers are willing to fight for the jobs that earn them so much disrespect and loathing is a window into a desperate world where any work is good work. All this is in the play somewhere, but unfamiliar speech patterns and lightning fast delivery never let us truly take anything away but vague implications.