Prague Fringe Reviews 2011 - Day 4
Day 4 of the fest
I'm pretty sure one of the first attempts at smell-o-vision happened in the Czech Republic and although it makes periodic attempts to return to the cinema (as Hollywood searches for anything other than plot to fill the multiplexes) Cooking for Love (Divadlo Na pradle Kavarna, 1815-1915) is way ahead of the game. Giving your audience some free food isn't a bad idea either and the space is not only filled with the aroma of spices and flavours from around the world but Iwam Dam shares the meals he cooks as he chats with the audience. Its not only the recipes he uses that tell of his pursuit of love but the food itself is neatly employed to vividly illustrate his journeys, with egg white creating a snowball fight in New York and a mortar and pester creating the rumble of a train across India. Whilst the delivery can at times be a touch lose the story is well paced and the olfactory assault and appeal to the stomach combined with Dam's light charm and gentle humour make this a very enjoyable hour. The setting could have been better established but on the whole the piece is quite touching and the musical outbursts that are scattered throughout, (which on occasion could have been jumped in and out a little more smoothly), stick with you as it dawns that here's a character who's happy to share his dinner but perhaps not quite everything else about himself.
My First Sony (Friday and Saturday at 2030-2130) also has a character who keeps things to himself - his tape cassettes which he sorts into three categories; Sounds >From Nature, Quarrels and Dad. Based on the best-selling Israeli novel this is a quite brilliantly drawn story told from a child's perspective as he records the noises and voices around him whilst his parents fuck, fight and break up. The sensitivity that each of the characters is played with is quite heartbreaking and the isolation that they each trap themselves in is made painfully clear. This really is a beautifully executed piece – the delivery, blocking, lighting and seamless sound cues are all pretty much perfect and I really don't have much to add other than just go and see it. This is one-man theatre at a very high standard, don't miss it.
If I was friends with the people on stage, full of cider and back at the student union The 7th Circle (Divadlo Na Pradle, 2200-2300) might have been funny but whilst they have a couple of pretty good one-liners and a fun premise to play with the delivery of 7th Circle simply wasn't sharp enough to get the laughs it was after. Everyone on stage looked like they were having fun and I suspect they might have done better in a more intimate and possibly grungy space than the pristine distance of Na Pradle (and they're probably not bad at taking on hecklers either) but while 7th Circle know what they're after they never really connected with the audience or even showed any real sense of comic timing.
Tips so far:
My First Sony
The Lovely Babe
The Human Jukebox
Cooking For Love
Jim High is co-producer at Prague's Blood, Love and Rhetoric Theatre
Video on YouTube
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