Intrigued by a piece of theatre exploring the ins and outs of the great British phenomenon of queuing, I was disappointed by West Horizons’ original scripted performance, which consisted of different scenes, sketches, and monologues, some loosely linked and mostly rather awkward to watch.
Credit has to be given to the three-strong cast, two female and one male, for their passionate performances as they all played at least five different characters. However, I felt the show was often indulgent to each actor’s particular strong skills, which seemed irrelevant to the plot of the performance. For example, Rebecca Jayne Hulse took on the role of a character who sang her name in an operatic style whenever someone asked her what she was called. This was not relevant to the piece itself and came across as a device to show off her trained singing voice. Similarly, another performer, Collene Webb - also the writer - enjoys showing off her tap dancing skills as, at the end of the show, the cast perform a strange musical number where Webb is the only one wearing tap shoes. There’s no denying the two women are talented, but I was somewhat baffled as to why these skills were featured in a play about queuing.
Parts of the script were clever and witty, and the set up of the different scenarios - being in a phone queue, queuing in a café or for a cash machine - were cleverly devised and original. A touching performance was given from Hulse in a monologue where she explains why she had to jump a queue to get money for her son’s ransom. Credibly acted, this was a highlight of the piece. Sadly, moments like this were ruined by awkward caricatures of elderly women or jittery tour guides who left the audience cringing and gave the entire performance a very amateur look.
Though the idea was solid, the execution wasn’t. The company could have done far more with the concept and spent less time on scenes and sketches that were childish or not funny. Don’t form a queue to see this one.