Written by Laurence Wilson
Directed by James Grieve
Wednesday 20th April 2011
Tiny Volcanoes explores the notion of a ‘broken Britain’,
which seems to be a hot topic of conversation these days and it’s
not difficult to find someone with an opinion on how it could/should be
fixed. “It’s not a normal play”, the actors reveal to
the audience in a
projected at the start of the performance. It was only as I was forced
to take part in an off key rendition of the British national anthem that
I realised I should have taken this disclaimer more seriously.
Kevin Harvey and Michael Ryan play, well, Kevin and Michael, two friends
who are fiercely proud of their roots as ‘cheeky’ scousers
AND as Brits. However, Kevin is having a baby with Michael’s sister
and he is beginning to question his ability to support his new family
and the ethical implications of bringing a child into the confused world
we currently live in. Their lyrical arguments of living in Britain, mixed
in with various sketches, interactions with projections and poetry certainly
provided a “rollercoaster ride” through what being British
means to people now.
The majority of the sketches, one consisting of a ‘Universally
Challenged’ quiz show were absolutely hilarious and Kevin Harvey’s
various caricatures of David Cameron and even Ozzy Osbourne kept the audience
laughing. But there were some decidedly uncomfortable moments as the pair
presented a situation of a married couple trying to persuade the man’s
father to be euthanized to prevent further burden to themselves. We also
witness a speech by a man arguing the case against further immigration
into the country which starts off reasonable enough but just as the audience
is reflecting on what he is saying, the speech morphs into the deranged
ranting of a BNP member.
Although the boundless energy on stage from the actors demonstrates their
enthusiasm and passion for being British, the trailer at the beginning
and various moments throughout betray their uncertainty. Kevin with his
future and Michael’s hope to get paid! To a degree, it appears that
they are being spoon-fed by the director as to what to say and they are
unsure of what they’re doing which emulates how society is being
fed BS by politicians and we are all uncertain in these times. I (sadly?)
am not ashamed to admit that, like many others in the audience, I didn’t
even know the words to our national anthem. So how can we really justify
our being proud Brits?
Ultimately, the evening produced many laughs and both the actors provided
excellent performances, Kevin Harvey is a brilliant impressionist and
Michael Ryan left the audience momentarily stunned with a particularly
speedy tongue twister of a speech. All in all it was ‘proper boss
Comment left by Mike on 11th May, 2011 at 19:01
I watched this play on tour in Berwick about ten days ago.
I can't fault Kevin and Michael's ability to deliver huge quantities of monologue, well, confidently with minimal chance to feed off the queues of other cast members.
I wanted to revue this, as much as anything to congratulate the boys on their performances. The ten day delay, is because I wanted to try and get my head around what the writer had written for them, and what if any point he was trying to make.
I've given up. If the writer had been as good as the actors, it would probably have been a better show.