The End

Very occasionally we might have an original idea, and when we do we like to tell others about it; however nothing can be compared to the smugness of Michael Pinchbeck and Ollie Smith in The End. This satirically banal, and strangely self-aware production will keep you on the edge of your seat till the last line, quite literally the end. As the actors will tell you this is a play about ‘endings, and exits’ which they begin discussing from the first scene. The ambiguous plot line is that ‘this is Michael’s last production, and Ollie’s first production’. Michael is passing the baton, and Ollie, through comedic facial expressions, conveys his impressions to the audience. They include a focus on one particular ending in Act III of A Winter’s Tale, where Antigonus exits ‘pursued by a bear’, the triviality of the topic making the show farcically entertaining for the audience.The genius of the production is that their entire script is written out on flashcards, which are piled at the back of the stage, carried by the speaker and then cast to the winds. This made for a beautiful spectacle on the stage by the end of the performance, though I do wonder how late they stay up at night re sorting all the cards into their respective stacks. I did find the overall show rather self-gratifying, and predictable; epitomised in the miming of the ‘fourth wall’ between the actors and the audience, which is blocking their potential. In addition the repetitive nature of the script did become tedious; they could have focussed on so many odd endings and exits in different plays rather than going back to the same one over and over. Nonetheless, I appreciate The End as a highly innovative production, if a little over-indulgent, and certainly a valuable theatre experience.

Reviews by Louise Hemfrey

Cluedo

★★★

The End

★★★★

Broken Wing

★★★★

Mah Hunt

★★★★★

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The Blurb

Inspired by the stage direction from 'The Winter's Tale', 'Exit pursued by a bear', 'The End' explores endings and exits and asks why we perform and how we will know when to stop. British Council Showcase 2011.

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