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Moving Parts Theater presents

 

RITES OF PRIVACY

 

 

 

Written and Performed by David Rhodes

 

Directed by Charles Loffredo

 

 

New End Theatre

 

13th Jan – 14th Feb 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

A review by Jafar Iqbal for EXTRA! EXTRA!

If you had to ask me what first attracted me to theatre, I would most likely always tell you it was the live spectacle of it all. When I go to the theatre I try my best to sit right at the front row, so I’m standing on the edge of the stage, as close to their reality as possible. It is what separates the theatre from something like cinema – I have the power to lean forward and touch the actors (if I were a moron, of course). They are there, performing their art right in front of me; and whatever buzz they are getting from it washes over me too.

How does this relate to the play I’m reviewing, I hear someone ask? And I’m getting to that now. Rites Of Privacy, the new one-man production from Moving Parts Theater, takes that beautiful buzz the audience feels and pushes it two or three steps further.

The most important two words to mention when reviewing this show are David Rhodes. Writer and performer here, he is the be all and end all of Rites Of Privacy. The show, in essence, is a series of five monologues, all performed by Rhodes over the course of the evening. The five characters all have dark secrets that they reveal to us, exposing the insecurities and lies that we live our lives with. Rhodes switches effortlessly from ageing Southern belle to isolated Jewish man, to refugee Rabbi to suburban doctor, finishing off as a Belgian rentboy. It is wonderful to watch him move from character to character, each one more believable than the last. The monologues start quite humorous but each one quickly descends into a dark place, finishing powerfully and, more often than not, sadly.

The real spectacle of the show isn’t the fact that Rhodes is so brilliantly versatile (and he is brilliantly versatile) but it’s the method in which the show has been directed. On stage, we have Rhodes, a chair, a table with makeup and wigs, and a costume rail. And while David tells the audience stories about his own life, he gets dressed as his next character. Just like that, we become part of his performance, we are in on the secret. Through getting ready in front of the audience, Rhodes builds instant rapport and, in turn, we become emotionally attached to his characters too. It’s as live a buzz and as interactive as the concept could allow, and he should be applauded for it.

The show also dabbles into the surreal at select times; sometimes working, sometimes not. The final monologue, involving the Belgian rentboy, is an example of it not working. It begins with Rhodes dancing and screaming along while dance music blasts in the background, and I felt myself tuning out slightly. Granted, the rest of monologue is fantastic and I find myself drawn into it, but that first couple of minutes is a bit of chore. In contrast, director Charles Loffredo directs Rhodes to act out an absolutely fantastic and powerful dance as Nazi paraphernalia appears on the projection behind. Rhodes is the broken Jewish Rabbi, and his dance emphasises that beautifully.

For the most part though, Rhodes keeps the audience grounded in reality, helped by stories from his own life. In something I’ve not really seen before, the show ends with David Rhodes as David Rhodes. Rather than end the show in spectacular or dramatic fashion, he spends the last ten minutes explaining the theme of the show and offers one last secret from his own life, and that is that. The audience are not the audience, but the friend; the confidante; that other person in a candid, honest conversation. And that is how we are left to go home – ultimately satisfied and absolved through this shared experience.

A one-man show rests squarely on the one man’s shoulder – he makes or breaks the performance. It’s safe to say that David Rhodes more than makes it, and carries the audience along on an emotional and powerful journey in the process. A must-watch.

 

 

Tuesday to Saturday: 7.30pm

Saturday and Sunday: 3.30pm

Tickets: £18 / £16 concessions

New End Theatre, 27 New End, Hampstead, London NW3 1JD

 

http://www.newendtheatre.co.uk

http://www.movingpartstheater.com

Box Office: 0870 033 2733

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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