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Review: Fun and silliness in The Diary of a Nobody, King's Head Theatre

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L-R Geordie Wright, Jordon Mallory Skinner, George Fouracres and Jamie Treacher

Fringe theatre is at its best when it is doing something different and creative. And Mary Franklin's adaptation of the classic 19th century comic novel The Diary of a Nobody is a great example.

The 'Nobody' is Charles Pooter, a City of London clerk living in Holloway with his wife Carrie and their servant Sarah. Their grown up son William is working in Oldham. As in the novel the play follows Pooter's diary for 15 months, the trials and tribulations of an ordinary life told with extraordinarily chaotic and farcical fun.

Carin Nakanishi's design is illustrative as if from the pages of the book. The Pooter's front room is drawn in black on a white background and the casts costumes match. Four actors take on all the roles of Pooter family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues, the humour often drawn from the rapid changes, quick disappearances and mysterious absences of particular characters.

There is slapstick a plenty and the use of props occasionally reminded me of 80s kids TV programme Tiswas - I haven't seen talc used to that effect for a long time.  Of course things fall over, doors get stuck and furniture breaks. The performances are all suitably flamboyant and melodramatic with only Jamie Treacher's Pooter remaining straight and composed throughout.

It is all done with such a big a wink and a nudge that some in the audience felt enough at ease with the lack of fourth wall they struck up conversations with the cast. One gentleman with a particularly distinctive laugh became part of the comedy and another, sat on the front row, an additional character.

The result is deliciously riotous and raucous and great, great fun.

Diary of a Nobody is running in rep at the King's Head Theatre, Islington until August 27. Get yourself a ticket and have a silly night at the theatre.

 

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