Friday, 13 January 2017

Theatre review: The Albatross 3rd & Main

I must admit that looking back at the blurb for The Albatross 3rd & Main I had no idea what made me decide to go see it; I strongly suspect I looked at how quiet the start of the year was and just added something to pad it out. US writer Simon David Eden directs and designs his own play about a dilapidated general store in the middle of nowhere*. Gene (Hamish Clark) is in debt following a divorce and a gambling problem, and has put the store in the name of his assistant, brain-damaged ex-boxer Lullaby (Andrew St Clair-James) to stop it from being repossessed. So he's tempted by an offer from hyped-up Spider (Charlie Allen,) who arrives with a dead golden eagle in a box. The bird collided with his car, and as it has great religious significance to various Native American tribes, Spider wants to use a contact of Gene's to sell the carcass on the black market.

But the trade in golden eagles means even possession of a dead one is a felony, and Gene has to decide whether the risk is worth it. The Albatross 3rd & Main isn't a play I have a huge amount to say about; it's the kind of American play built around men talking in circles, and its rambling style never grabbed me - as usual writers directing their own plays doesn't work for me, and Eden's production lacks pace. It's only the eventual presence of April De Angelis' Gun‡ that brings any sense of urgency, but in a play that aims for a wisecracking energy its attempts at comedy fall flat, with only St Clair-James' efforts as the good-natured Lullaby raising so much as a smile.

The Albatross 3rd & Main by Simon David Eden is booking until the 4th of February at Park Theatre 90.

Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes including interval.

*the proximity to a Mohawk reservation would suggest the location is Pennsylvania or upstate New York, although going by the accents it's variously the South, Brooklyn, or Scotland.

‡is it still April De Angelis' Gun if the characters are American? I'd kind of assume they all had half a dozen guns on their person anyway.

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