EFR - Reviews of A Face That Fits

A Face That Fits

Fri 7th – Sat 29th August 2015

reviews

Ella Wilks-Harper

at 09:44 on 12th Aug 2015

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2disagrees

Stiff, stilted and far from thought-provoking, Moon Fly Theatre’s production of A Face That Fits attempts to explore the clash of generations between a Man (Vincent Maguire) and a Boy (Mark McMinn). It begins with the former approaching the latter in a park, in the hope that he can draw him. After much apprehension, the younger man consents and conversation ensues. However, instead of exploring the clashes between ages with sensitivity, the script is rife with clichéd examples that stereotype the elder man, such as using incorrect words for Facebook and exclaiming dated homophobic slurs.

These slurs held potential to develop into an interesting exchange as the audience witness the Man insensitively questioning the Boy’s sexuality. It was a bewildering and infuriating exchange but if done with slightly more sincerity, it would have succeeded in showing the Man’s lack of understanding, though the stagnancy in acting made this impossible. Moreover, with a multitude of additional storylines, McMinn’s portrayal of a troubled homosexual with a child he is yet to meet feels unexplored with too many threads.

There was minimal chemistry between the two actors, with dragging conservation and stiff displays of emotion. This problem was exacerbated by McMinn’s spiky performance, as he sporadically shouted abuse at the Man, then quickly sat down next to him to continue the exchange. Not only did this conflict confuse any meaningful conversation the two were apparently having, it made for an uncomfortable audience experience as we could never distil his true emotions.

This was further hindered by the Man’s repeated refrain that “the pencil is mightier than the sword”, which felt like a desperate attempt to be deep and meaningful.

Towards the end of the play this motif of the pencil was unintentionally made comedic with unnatural gestures of drawing and misplaced remarks such as “this can go up in the National Museum”. It was hard at times to gather whether or not the elder man was actually deranged, as he screamed homophobic remarks, pulled pint glasses from his coat and asked the younger man whether he noticed how beautiful his face was. But I guess that’s just the generation gap.

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Rowena Henley

at 10:26 on 12th Aug 2015

0agrees

2disagrees

Moon Fly Theatre’s A Face That Fits had a delightfully exciting premise: two strangers on a bench meet when one asks to draw the other. However, when it came to the show itself, I found I would rather watch the paint dry on the drawing than the show surrounding it.

The play opened with an elderly gentleman (Vincent Maguire) asking a younger man (Mark McMinn) “may I draw you?” We were immediately catapulted into the heart of this drama without any warning, and the subtleties only worsened from there.

It is difficult to comment upon the progression of this hour-long production as, for the most part, I was totally and utterly lost. A Face That Fits was a string of painful platitudes held together by poor acting and even poorer writing.

Repetition seemed to be writer Sean Dennis Langtree’s key tool. Rather than developing any kind of engaging storyline, Langtree dogmatically rammed his attempt at deeper meaning down our throats. One of my personal low points was the line “Violence is regret. Poetry is art”.

This play simply had no substance. The concept promised a ‘clashing of generations’ and a ‘coming of age’ story, but I struggled to see how either played out. Besides some dire jokes about ‘twitter face’ (oh no! the older man doesn’t know it’s called facebook!) and a bizarre subplot about a distant father and a pregnant ex-girlfriend, we were simply watching two guys talk about a random assortment of subjects.

This was a show entirely reliant upon two actors, which can often be so intriguing to watch. In the case of A Face That Fits, however, it was simply tedious. The chemistry between the two men was completely non-existent, with their energies at entirely different levels. Whilst McMinn was a fast paced performer, Maguire seemed totally disconnected from the content of the piece. At points, I was convinced that Maguire did not know his lines or simply decided to make up his own. He seemed to stumble across something to say and say it. The performances were excruciatingly stilted, with both actors seeming to completely disregard the tone and techniques of their onstage partner.

If I had to clutch at straws, I would say that I enjoyed Langtree’s exploration of homosexuality to some degree. His idea that ‘love doesn’t always have to be sexual’ was somewhat interesting. Once again, however, this theme was left entirely undeveloped and didn’t seem to add anything to the one-dimensional plot.

A Face That Fits is certainly not worth your time or money. With so many fantastic pieces of new writing at the Fringe, it would perhaps be wise to avoid one which desperately needs an overhaul.

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Comments

David Edment; 15th Aug 2015; 23:30:57

"The pen is mightier than the sword." On this occasion, I am glad both reviewers refrained from using swords as we'd have a massacre on our hands. These reviews fail to provide an accurate account of the very same play I witnessed merely the day before. The piece has great potential and Langtree successfully explores the young man's stream of consciousness utilizing "repetition," stichomythia and other "key" tools to great effect. One must wonder if the play actually struck a nerve with both Henley and Wilks- Harper, as they seem to have gone out of their way to mount a disrespectful and destructive attack on a humble, yet intriguing piece of theatre.

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