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 The Theatreguide.London Review

6 Actors In Search of a Director
Charing Cross Theatre     Summer 2012

A group of actors sit around on a film location, waiting to be called. 

They chat, they bitch about the director, they tease each other, they bitch some more, they call each other 'Darling' a lot, they debate the relative merits of stage and screen acting, they gossip, they eat, they tell stories, they compare cell phones, they ogle the passing star like teenage fans, they bitch some more. 

I am sure that every single line in Steven Berkoff's play has been spoken by some actor during some interminable wait on some film set, though perhaps not all by the same half-dozen people in the same ninety minutes. 

An experienced film actor (and stage actor and director and playwright) himself, Berkoff knows the world and people he's writing about, and the play has the absolute ring of truth. 

The playwright directs, and those who know Berkoff as writer and director might be a bit disappointed that very little of his signature style is to be found here. Except for one bit of group mime of eating dinner and a couple of freeze-frame pauses, Berkoff's staging is wholly realistic, with no stylised or exaggerated motions, no mugging, none of the things we've come to think of as Berkoffian. 

Of course those who are not old Berkoff hands won't miss anything, and this particular play is actually better off anchored in solid reality. 

A few individual personalities are allowed to emerge among the group – the cynical know-it-all (Neil Stuke), the idealistic ingénue (Sarah Chamberlain), the fatherly character actor (Philip Voss) – but that's just to allow certain lines of conversation to develop. There are incidents, but no real story beyond the fact of waiting. 

I don't think you have to be an actor, or know actors, or be (however peripherally) connected to this world to be caught up in this peep behind the cameras, which might well increase your understanding of the actor's life and your respect for actors while it entertains.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review - 6 Actors In Search of a Director - Charing Cross 2012   

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