Friday, 30 September 2005

The UFO Show by Uncle Semolina (& Friends), Aug 30, 2005

The UFO Show by Uncle Semolina (& Friends)
The Store Room, Aug 30 to September 18, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Aliens and UFO's seem to fascinate this modern world stripped of faith and fairytales. The UFO Show provides a light-hearted view of alien visitations.

The production is short with some comical vignettes and goofy situations. The cast of six are energetic and lively but the problems in the show arise from its devised development process.

The final product looks like a series of workshop ideas strung together with a rather tenuous plot about a hapless young man on a journey.

Leo Sprinkle (Luke Ryan??),a water tester the government water board, visits a small town to test the viscosity  of the water.

From the moment he arrives, nothing seems quite normal.

The Alderman (Ben Grant) and his secretary (??) are symbiotically connected and peculiar; the three hotel receptionists (Edwina Wren, Jennifer Priest, Naomi Steinborner) are alternately giggly and obstructive; and the re seems to be nothing on the seventh floor of the  hotel where his room should be.

Leo's world shifts and reels through time and place. We see him in a basement, a bathroom, in a video store run by a famous French oceanographer or talking to a UFO expert. ( Mark Tregonning??)

We flash back to him as a child frightened by nightmares or as a child taunted in school for his strange obsession with lizards.

Leo is even probed y two big head aliens as any self-respecting alien hunter would hope to be.

The show seems to be based on a grab bag of stimuli and information about aliens, UFO sightings, UFO freaks, retrieved memory hypnosis and other oddments. It becomes a little tired after thirty minutes.

The quirky segments outweigh the more eerie, atmospheric parts but the whole piece does not amplify our relationships and attitudes to aliens to any significant degree.

The cast have fun and commit totally to this strange little show. Director, Christian Leavesley, stages the piece amongst the theatre chairs while the tiny audience watches from the stage space through a picture frame as actors duck and dive between and over the seating.

There are entertaining moments and some cute ideas in The UFO Show but the whole is, in the end, fractured and unsatisfying.

By Kate Herbert

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