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 The Theatreguide.London Review

Utopia
Soho Theatre   Summer 2012

Pitched somewhere between an undergraduate revue, Moral Re-Armament and theatre-in-education, this song-and-sketch show has just barely enough tang to keep it from being overpoweringly saccharine, while a talented cast spend much of the evening looking as if they'd rather be someplace else. 

A troupe of whitefaced clowns consider various images of an ideal world, rejecting each in favour of their own idealistic vision. On that premise directors Steve Marmion and Max Roberts have assembled songs and sketches some, inevitably, with only a very tenuous connection to the theme by about a dozen writers.

A think tank comes up with the design for a perfect world, only to spot the one flaw in their design. A formerly powerful woman finds it difficult to accept the infirmities and dependency of old age. Some people abducted by aliens have to decide whether to stay with them or go back to their old lives. A widow moves past her grief to realise she now has the opportunity to redefine herself. A man goes on an acid trip. 

On a presumably lighter note, a sadistic dictator brags at gory length about his atrocities and is then instantly reformed by the news that a lot of people dislike him on Facebook. One of Hitler's speeches actually sounds quite attractive until we realise it's him. Some nineteenth-century rules for workers are easily laughed at. 

At their best, a couple of these the widow, the old woman have a touch of reality about them and a couple of the comic ones raise a smile. But others a comedian dying onstage, a dinner party in which everyone takes a dislike to one unseen guest are barely coherent and certainly not obviously relevant, and the moments meant to be uplifting are just gooey. 

The performers seem like very nice people and are undoubtedly kind to their mothers, and I see no reason to name them.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review - Utopia - Soho Theatre 2012  


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