Last Tuesday night I decided to have a little impromptu outing to the theatre. I hadn’t been in a while and needed my fix. What to see? Firstly there was the issue of money (the issue being I don’t have any) so it had to be cheap. Secondly it needed to be close to work so I didn’t have to travel far.
I decided to have a little look into Soho Theatre’s programme and The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle popped out at me. The young Irish Theatre Company 15th Oak, have been claiming accolades left, right and centre on the fringe scene, so I thought it was worth a look in. And with tickets for under-25s at £10 how could I resist? I hadn’t been to Soho Theatre before, and it had a great atmosphere the bar down stairs was absolutely jam packed, with theatre goers and non-theatre goers alike.
Eric Argyle was in the upstairs theatre, which is a self-proclaimed area ‘for emerging companies, young people and brave new writing. A central London platform for anyone who has been tearing up the fringe'. Sounded perfect. Since moving to London, I have been to see really big productions like Book of Mormon, The Lion King, People and The Woman in Black. But small indie and fringes productions is where my love lies.
|This photo is the property of Soho Theatre|
So when I walked into a tiny box painted black with some dim lighting, I felt home. The play was a book, about a man who wrote a book about his life (non-linear form). A little confusing to begin with, the different time lapses and different realities meant it took me a little while to get into the swing of things. The extremely wordy dialogue didn’t always serve to help this, but the language itself was beautiful – though hard not to think it perhaps should’ve remained a book. Theatre is a visual medium, and I always like to follow the rule ‘don’t tell them if you can show them’ so the descriptive narrating felt a little redundant at times.
That being said, I really enjoyed the show. The actors were lively and young, and brought life (and sort of death) to their characters. There were poignant moments, as well as some sardonic humour, which had me laughing out loud. All the little stories within stories left me wanting to know more in the best possible way. The icing on the cake for me was the music, played by the cast, with guitars and accordions, which seemed to melt into the set, creating a beautiful and surreal atmosphere.
I noticed that some of my fellow patrons left the theatre balling their eyes out. While I wasn’t reduced to tears I did leave the theatre thinking about the true weight and implications of seemingly small decisions in our lives. The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle gives food for thought, eyes and soul and is on until the 20th of April at Soho Theatre.