Amédée: Welcome to an Elegy of the Unreal
As good, if not better than the ice ream
And so off we trundle to The Birmingham Rep. Our main aim, per usual, is to make it to the interval for its treacle toffee ice cream (made in Egg Tump, near Ledbury, fact fans).
But tonight we come for a Eugene Ionesco play firmly rooted in the theatre of the absurd. And opening in a world clearly gone mad, we think it’s fitting to re-invent the 60-year-old piece for the Brexit-Trump era.
TV actress Josie Lawrence takes up the main role in Amédée, a whacko play full of laughs, implausibility and, at the end, a few home truths.
The plot is fantastical in itself, up there with Ionesco’s edgy thespo pals like Beckett, Pirandello and Fo. Josie plays Madeleine, who is permanently tucked up in a shabby flat while a dead corpse grows and grows until it takes over the one room apartment she shares with her flailing playwright husband.
Lawrence, (she of Whose Line Is It Anyway?) reaches way back to her Cradley Heath childhood for the heaviest Black Country accent this side of faggots and peas. Co-star Trevor Fox (the eponymous Amédée) strangles his Geordie twang to such extremes that he could make us laugh if he read out the number 50 bus schedule.
So, good on The Rep for producing this forgotten elegy to the absurd. And as Lawrence and Fox deal with the complexities of how to dispose of this dead body as it elongates across their rooms, we ask: ‘What does it represent? Their marriage? A lost lover? Society?’
Who knows? We don’t. You won’t either. So, stuff your over-educated thinking caps in your back pockets and grab tickets to this broadstroke comedy of the unreal. Have a chuckle. And bring us back some of that treacle toffee stuff. Ta, bab.
Amédée is on until 11th March. Tickets
WORDS: Richard Lutz
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