Wake

Alec is a dysfunctional young man of the landed gentry, but that is easy to deal with when the rest of the family are just as peculiar. With a weak and jittery personality he finds sanctuary from his hated personal identity by doing impressions. He impersonates all his family members, and by doing so creates a caricature of himself. He is trying to explain the deeply affecting events of his father's wake using his impressions when suddenly his wife erupts, heckling from the audience, livid with rage at her infernal husband. The couple spend the play arguing over their marital issues. Issues are something the couple certainly have plenty of as they rant over the bizarre identity of Alec and, more importantly, whether he slept with his Uncle's wife at the wake. The story is told by flitting between impersonations as the couple leap about on and offstage. While the enthusiasm and energy onstage was extremely strong, and the actors were very capable at highlighting the different characters the show was not great. There was nothing particularly outstanding about the characters they produced, even though it would have suited the nature of the play for being a little more over the top. A mistake was made in trying to find a compromise between farcical and realistic characters, so the comedy which the energy of the play was trying to inject was reduced as a result. There so much self-referencing of itself as a play and alluding to what was to come later in the show, that there was very little substance - leaving it a fairly unfulfilling and repetitive. There is clear talent and many moments of comedy but the negative elements of the show drag it down.

Reviews by Theo Barnes

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The Blurb

A breakneck, rollercoaster comedy about love, loss and lies. Alec only knows who he is when he's pretending to be somebody else, somebody like his dead father Sir James ... 'A multiple-charactered cross between Pirandello and Whitehall farce' (Times).

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