The Art of Falling Apart

Written and directed by Robert Farquhar
Unity Theatre
12th to 28th January 2012

Reviewed by Jennifer Keegan

The Art of Falling Apart is performed by Matt Rutter and Tim Lynskey, armed with nothing more than two chairs the duo meander their way through several characters and scenes depicting an office pitch through to a leaving do, a train station and finally a house party resulting in something of a lost weekend.

At first they open with Lynskey portraying a man pitching his new idea to the boss. This immediately had me smiling as he lost himself in his pondering of the lack of new ideas before coming to the conclusion that in fact there are no new ideas, this was met by his boss proclaiming that his no new ideas was a great idea in itself. The irony was not lost on the audience who lapped up this observation.

We are then moved from the office to the pub with someone’s leaving do, here our protagonist Callum (Rutter) is interrogated by a colleague about the passing of time and whether this is as good as his life is going to get. This conversation has numerous interruptions from Callum’s girlfriend Suzy calling him to see how late he will be home and when they can next go to Ikea. This had the whole audience laughing as each conversation became more strained and amusing to watch. When Callum eventually gets home, naturally they row, which ends when Callum storms out.

Callum finds himself sitting in a train station trying to gather his thoughts when he meets Brian O'Really (Lynskey), a character who isn't exactly all together there and who leads Callum through an erratic journey to his house for a cup of tea which ends up being his birthday party. Here both actors really shine as they move through multiple characters with ease, showcasing their ability to inhabit every character and maximise their characteristics. From the cheeky scouser to the drunken scot, both men transition with such ease through the stereotypical characters it is easy to forget there are only two men on stage. As the drink and drugs flow Callum is caught up in the debauchery resulting in panic, confusion and ultimately an argument with Brian.

After he leaves the party he heads to another pub alone, this is where I think they slightly lost their audience as it appears Callum goes on an extended drugs trip with a man he meets in the pub. Apart from an amusing dance sequence, this could have been edited out and would not have been missed. After a trippy conversation with his dead father Callum realises what’s important in life and begins running. I would assume he is running back to his life and future but the play ends with him running and leaves the ending open to interpretation.

Overall it was an enjoyable show with numerous funny observations of this age where we are struggling with information overload and having too many options open to us, leaving us doubtful and uncomfortable when we think of the paths we didn’t take. Both men are talented but I found Lynskey to stand out with the most expressional face I have ever seen. One look or roll of his eyes had the audience laughing as he delivered his characters with seamless ease. Neither needed to walk off stage to transform between characters and their energy and commitment to the task of carrying the story earned them a standing ovation.

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Sorry Comments Closed

Comment left by clayton on 2nd February, 2012 at 15:55
the blond actor did have a face made for this play! full of expression. great night but i agree they should have edited out the drugs trip section.