C Belle Angèle, Edinburgh
August, 2001

* Berkoff at his bilious worst in a post-student production

A bunch of theatrical types gather in a restaurant after a first night and are vile. No point to it except to settle the writer's scores.

Nobody does Berkoff any more except students and Berkoff. Strictly speaking, Wisepart Productions are a post-student company, but the ethos is the same. To give Derek Bond's production credit where it's due, they play it faster than they might: a fully Berkoffian production, which relished all the vitriol and all the specific caricatures, would probably run half as long again as this 50-minute version. Or possibly these young actors simply don't know how to play parodies of figures ranging from Sir Peter Hall to Nicholas de Jongh.

We all know by now that Steven Berkoff has no time for the rest of the theatrical world, and that when he decides to be truly venomous he is unrivalled. The thing is that the first of those remarks simply isn't true; several years ago he tried reinventing himself as a pussycat, and I personally saw him indulging in exactly the luvviedom he so reviles here. This makes this 1989 piece blatantly hypocritical, as he tries to have his cake and eat it whilst fulminating against others who might want a bite as well. This is an infantile gobbet of revanchism, and it stinks.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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