Friday, 6 October 2017

Theatre Review: The Suitcase

Image Source: Everyman Theatre
Written By: Scott Gunnion

Format: Play
Genre: Drama
Date: October 4 2017
Location: Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool

The Suitcase comes all the way to the UK courtesy of the Market Theatre, Johannesburg. Quite how it managed to find its way all the way to these shores I’ll never quite understand.

The scope of said journey implies that there is something grand and magical about this production, something that justifies bringing it all the way to the UK for theatregoers to absorb.

Exceptional? It was not. In fact, it could barely aspire to be average.

In spite of the Apartheid era South Africa setting and the rich landscape that the set design could possibly exploit, The Suitcase is nothing but a rainbow of grey. Its set was basic, bland and unimaginative.

To its credit, the singing was exceptional, although proceedings were inhibited by the frequent use of obscure African language within the script. This meant that it was sometimes hard to follow the point of any one scene.

But the problem with The Suitcase is that it doesn’t really have a plot. There is a man looking for work and then towards the end somebody gives him a suitcase. There isn’t much to get your teeth into.

The Suitcase, despite the title, is in fact not about a suitcase. In fact, the suitcase plays a bit part towards the end of the production. The tone was quite often sombre. Rather than a tale about a suitcase, or anything remotely to do with a suitcase, this is primarily a tale about the perils and oppression of unemployment.

A tale about a man (Timi, the protagonist) desperately scouring the city looking for work in order to provide for his wife and pending child. Every humane person can relate to that. But there was no climax; only a massive anticlimax relating to the contents of the fabled suitcase.

This is a play that, although deficient in spark, was not to be found lacking in heart. The performers are to be commended, but the content was thin and wanting. I couldn’t wait for it to end.

Overall Rating: 4/10 - Disappointing

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