Friday, 29 April 2016

Review: The Flick at the National Theatre

The Flick
National Theatre (Dorfman)
Reviewed on Thursday 28th April 2016

Theatre can be a bold, bright attack of the senses. It can also be a still, reflective creation that can leave you wondering long into the night.

The Flick at the National Theatre is one such piece, which creeps up on you slowly and before you know it - you're completely hooked. At over three hours this is no mean feat, but Annie Barker's Pulitzer Price winning play is quietly devastating. 

Set in a run down movie theatre, somewhere in Massachusetts, three employees live out their working days. Surrounded by unwanted popcorn and the threat of leftover bodily fluids, Baker presents an extraordinarily naturalistic world, in which the audience can be entwined in their love, lust and loss. As the introduction of digital projection looms, you begin to understand the true beauty of the 35-millimetre motion picture, told so wittily and passionately in the dialogue.

All four actors play with such gracious believability there are moments where you truly forget these aren't real people (although of course the beauty is that they are real in some way - because they are us all). Jaygann Ayeh as Avery, Louisa Krause as Rose and Matthew Maher as Sam, all capture their characters worlds with a startling power. Maher provides the most laughs with his dry put downs and monotone wonderings - but it's also he who gives you a stomach whack full of real emotion when you least expect it. 

David Zinn's realistic movie theatre design makes you feel like flies on the wall, peering in through the big screen on the little auditorium these characters call home. Sam Gold's subtle and still direction makes incredible use of pause - unlike anything we've seen before - which gives you a real sense that you know and understand these characters. It could become tedious and monotonous, with scene after scene of sweeping, but instead there's joy in the normality of the repetition. That familiarity sucks you in and keeps you there, so the three hours and 15 minutes fly by. 

A fresh, unique piece of theatre that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. The Flick is really something quite special. 

Reviewed by Oliver Dowdeswell

The Flick runs at the National Theatre until 15th June 2016. 
Please visit for further information and tickets.

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