Monday, 16 December 2013

'Barking in Essex' Wyndhams Theatre ***

I do not think I have ever seen such a production in my entire existence that has so much obscene language that 'Barking in Essex ' has, but it is one that definitely makes you laugh in hysterics and regurgitate at the same time. The comedy is centred around the Packer family who obviously reside in the now infamous Essex where they begin to panic as the youngest of the rather dysfunctional family is about to be released from prison and expects to come home to a share of quite a reasonable amount of money from a criminal act. However it seems that his mother Emmie Packer has spent all of this money that her son has commandeered from illegal means. I found the narrative by the late Clive Rowe to have been of a good and hilariously linear fashion as it portrays a highly shameful family who desires one thing and I mean one thing only and that is to own lots of money even if it is from awful conquests. I did however repulse at the shocking and vastly derogatory dialogue but I did feel that this suited the characters pretty successfully. The characterisation and delivery from the cast were of a satisfactory standard of quality that seems to desensitise me. Lee Evans' portrayal of the dimwitted older sibling Darnley Packer was vastly substandard as his comedy is rather cliché and stereotypical of the kind of roles Evans generally conveys. Again I was highly dismayed by the acting sensation Shelia Hancock as the grotesque and chav like mother Emmie Packer as she embodies a pretty uncharismatic woman who does not seem to care and value the idea of a family atmosphere and is fixated by the power of money and commercialism. I would have liked to have seen more precision and flare in her performance as it seems that she hasn't understood the characters' persona and motives. I thought that Harry Burton's direction for the piece of theatre was of a good level of creative decision making and he creates a quite contemporary view of today's society with the influence of the reality television programme 'The Only Way is Essex' in vein.  It also seemed quite messy within the scenic transitions which is very disappointing really and Simon Higlett's design was shambolic. For me it did not feel altogether right and appropriate for a West End production. It was a satisfactory performance and production that leaves me vastly underwhelmed.                

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