Wednesday 9 May 2012
Theatre review: Encounters
Originally a poet who started to incorporate more of a performance element, Mahfouz's play does often veer into verse, and there's some amusing lines and incidents, as well as the hint of how this way of life is affecting the narrator. Not being a trained performer may explain why Mahfouz is always just that little bit too understated, never quite creating enough energy to really suck you in. She's got a natural affinity for accents, which she uses frequently, but it does start to seem like the cast of characters is a collection of regional accents being shown off in place of characterisation. Dry Ice isn't bad, but it feels like it's just skirting around something interesting without delivering in the end.
Horton is aided by the luggage she drags everywhere with her, her handbag doubling as a tennis racquet in a particularly funny scene, the contents of four suitcases providing very silly backdrops for her various travels. Whether describing the heartbreak of years without word from her Cyril, or insisting that she once rowed from the Isle of Wight to mainland England, or single-handedly made up the French Resistance, Horton's Christiane is an engaging presence, and her (mostly) true story makes for a joyous show.
Encounters: Dry Ice by Sabrina Mahfouz and You're Not Like the Others Girls Chrissy by Caroline Horton is booking until the 12th of May at the Bush Theatre.
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes including interval.