Expensive Sh*t 3*** - One4Review
one4review | On 20, Aug 2016
This play set in the toilets of a Glasgow nightclub and one in the independent state of Kalakutu in Nigeria is full of ideas and buzzing with energy. The story moves between the two places and times, linked by Tolu who was an idealistic teenager in Nigeria and is a lonely and embittered toilet attendant in Glasgow.The four actors are exceptional and the dance routines in the Nigerian nightclub throb with life and fun. The set, where the girls are looking into ‘mirror’s which are the audience is used to good effect and works well in the studio space.
However the whole is less than the sum of its parts. The background to the Nigerian ‘free-state’ is not explained until well through the play therefore to understand what is happening requires a deal of previous knowledge, without which the conversations make little sense. The dialogue in the Glasgow nightclub is often completely unrealistic – would someone really walk into a bathroom and ask the toilet attendant about happiness? The connection between the two strands is not fully articulated or resolved. The denouement of the show however is where it is at its least believable – when the girls in the Glasgow nightclub find out that men have been paying to watch them in the toilets and that Tolu has been complicit in allowing this, they decide to make up their faces and dance. I’m sure the writer had good reason for this decision but, with everyone acting out of character it had little dramatic credibility.
Interesting and dynamic but would benefit from a tightening of the narrative.
Traverse Theatre, Times vary