The Art of Falling Apart

Unity Theatre
Wed 9th - Sat 26th January 2013
Scripted and Directed by Robert Farquhar
Performed by Tim Lynskey and Matt Rutter
Soundscapes by Simon Jones

Reviewed by Sarah Ryan

With ‘The Art of Falling Apart’, Big Wow serve up a visceral high-paced comic treat on a dish of sharply observed commentaries on modern life, what’s it all about and witty one liners. It’s a physical delight to watch as Tim Lynskey and Matt Rutter don various guises in a whirlwind helter skelter of shifting scenes. At times the sheer physicality and breakneck pace is exhausting to watch and you daren’t take your eyes off the action.

In a play that is densely populated with an array of bizarre and wacky characters, it is hard to imagine that there is only a cast of two playing so many! Set on a minimal stage with black backdrop and two chairs, the actors successfully manipulate these basic ingredients as they take us through a day in the life of Callum, played by Matt Rutter who bears an uncanny resemblance to Bob Hoskins! Callum’s life is unravelling, everything he believes and everything he holds dear, on closer inspection, just don’t make the grade. We move from a ‘bankrupt post idea society’, where there are no new ideas because everything’s been done through increasingly nightmarish scenarios.

Along the way Callum encounters some randomly strange characters played by Tim Lynskey, who’s like a chameleon on an amphetamine/acid concoction! These include the motivational speaker Zigzaggler who argues the lightbulb moment that failure is an option, to the sinister cockney who snowboards him through a drug-fuelled night of mayhem…’Now that’s what I call a good night out.’ Each character Callum encounters on his modern day descent into Hades, cause even more problems in their cack-handed attempts to help him cope with his modern mid-life crisis, though eventually, more by default he is helped towards redemption.

With sharply observed characterisation and some wonderfully witty one-liners, including the drunken thespian, ‘Once more into the breach dear Tia Maria’ and the glorious scouser’s description of Irish Bernie’s party, ‘like a fucked up underground version of Abigail’s party’, the audience is dragged laughing through this car crash of a comedy.

With the benefit of a Spartan set and Robert Farquhar’s finely tuned script and staging, add to that the assured insight and pure stamina of Matt Rutter and Tim Lynskey’s polished and riveting performances, you get a laugh out loud production which still manages to deliver the poignancy of Callum’s predicament along with the absurd. Go see it if there’s still tickets left.

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