DANCE AND PHYSICAL THEATRE
Steal Compass, Drive North, Disappear 3 stars
Zoo Southside (Venue 82)
You couldn't begrudge Rachel Blackman for coming up with such a great title, though her charming one-woman show features neither compass theft nor driving north. No doubt her central character, a conceptual installation artist called Martin Sharon, would like to disappear when he finds out his mistress is pregnant, but in the end, even he comes clean.
So rather than some kind of theatrical road movie, Blackman's show is a series of character sketches that gently lampoon the pompousness of the art world and satirise society's tendency to pander to the ego of the male artist. While Sharon is vaingloriously assembling his autobiography, it doesn't occur to him to inquire about the far more interesting life of the woman he employs to transcribe his notes.
Were he not so self-centred, he would have found out that not only is she an accomplished novelist in her own right, but she has a family suffering political persecution in the Middle East. "How lonely to go through life loving only yourself," says his pregnant girlfriend, getting wise to his self-indulgence.
Blackman is a delightful performer and her character studies are well observed. With a more ambitious narrative, this entertaining play could also have the kind of emotional kick her themes deserve.
Until 28 August
© Mark Fisher 2011
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