Absurd Person Singular | Emma’s Latest Review

Absurd Person Singular | Emma’s Latest Review

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Thursday night’s adventure found the Camel Stub team at the Courtyard Playhouse for Dubai Drama Group’s production of Absurd Person Singular. All of us are a fan of Alan Ayckbourn’s work so we were particularly excited to see this production. Unfortunately, Phil had to return home to the Mothership and was unable to join the other Camel Stub-bers so, not wanting him to miss out, we brought a little piece of him with us.

So …what’s it all about I hear you cry? Well, in a nutshell, the play is divided into three acts, and documents the changing fortunes of three married couples. Each act takes place at a Christmas celebration at one of the couples’ homes on successive Christmas Eves.

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This led to a slick three scenery set up, that was changed each act, allowing the audience two 15 minute breaks …. as opposed to the usual one interval. Being majorly spoilt here! This allowed ample time for the audience to refresh themselves. I must say say that myself and ‘Phil’ did enjoy our glass bottle cokes, as well as a few stolen french cheese crisps I ‘acquired’ from Romesh.

The set was well designed and constructed allowing the actors to interact with the kitchen set up perfectly. Sound effects for running water, and the rain outside were timed accurately and enhanced the overall production. Having six people on stage at once is tricky, but the entire play was well staged – and a testament to Penny MacKenzie’s direction.

The cast personified their roles beautifully and the different characters were carried well by a cast of six strong actors. Comedic timing is everything in a script like this and the whole cast were well timed in their deliveries, and obviously gifted in this genre.

Hats off to Bryan Mackenzie who displayed one of the best “I’ve just got my fingers stuck in a socket and am being electrocuted whilst standing on a table” performances I’ve ever seen. A round of applause from the audience came after, and was well deserved.

There was a dip in energy towards the end of the play, and at times, the cast seem to be merely reciting their lines for laughs and not really listening and reacting to what had just been said. The piece is a satirical farce, but we are dealing with topics such as unemployment and suicide and I thought the the real-ness and desperation of the characters, could have been portrayed more authentically.

At 2 hours and 20 minutes Absurd Person Singular is a long play – meaning plenty of time for serious bum twitching and body fidgeting. However, I think this was more an Emma issue as looking around it didn’t seem to be a universal problem.

I thoroughly enjoyed my night out at Absurd Person Singular and if you are a fan of Alan Ayckbourn’s work – or even that of Oscar Wilde – I would say this is a play not to be missed. So scoot your ass over to the Courtyard Playhouse before it finishes and enjoy the hilarious antics. Well done Dubai Drama Group … looking forward to the next production!

Emma

Absurd Person Singular runs until Sunday 4th December with daily performances at 8pm, as well as a matinee at 4pm on Friday 2nd December. Tickets are ‘free’ but a there is a suggested contribution of 100 AED to cover costs.

About author
Profile photo of Emma Haylan Hall

Emma Haylan Hall

British Actress, travel junkie and connoisseur of all things fabulous. Emma's love of performing began at a young age and never left. Not quite as sweet as she looks.

Comments
  • Daragh H#1

    December 2, 2016

    Loved the show! Great acting set and direction. But I think the hypocrisy of calling it a free show and then asking (demanding is more suitable here) for 100 as donation is not done. But then again this is dubai and why would we expect anything to be free?! My question is why not give a ticket price to begin with… why this sham of “donations”? A great evening ruined by demands.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Phil Apaza

      Phil Apaza#2

      December 2, 2016

      We know why they do this, but I’m not going to comment too much here… yet. I plan on doing a whole episode on the topic of tickets and Dubai restrictions/regulations. Essentially, it comes down to this being an un-ticketed event, and therefore a price cannot be listed.

      Reply
      • Daragh H#3

        December 3, 2016

        Sorry but that’s just conning the audience then by calling it a “free” event. I see other ticketed events in Dubai so it’s not like regulations are stopping an event. The actors standing at curtain call sending you on a guilt trip to pay AFTER you watched the show thinking it was free is how con artists and scammers work. Again this is not a testament to the actual work on stage but rather to the marketing and sales. If I had been told it was 100 I would have been prepared to buy my “ticket” and give this a shot.

        Reply
        • Profile photo of Phil Apaza

          Phil Apaza#4

          December 3, 2016

          I’m not disagreeing with you. Probably agreeing more than disagreeing. I’m just saying there is a lot more to it regulations-wise involving DTCM, events, ticketing, fines and venues and license activities, etc. The audience shouldn’t have to know this though, and communicating rates and intentions is vital. You’re not the first to mention how guilty-trippy the donation part feels afterwards. I promise you, we are going to do a full episode on the complications faced by community theatre groups and the rates they have to pay and how the venues deal with license restrictions. I’m not defending Courtyard or DDG here. Nor am I saying they shouldn’t be supported. Just trying to neutrally shed some light on something that – rightfully as you have pointed out – annoys many audience members and organizers alike. We even made a point of mentioning in last week’s episode that a donation will be expected because we’re seen other people get (justifiably) upset about this very point.

          Reply
  • Daragh’s stinky conscience#5

    December 3, 2016

    Con Artists, Scammers … what the fuck? Illinformed idiocy from Daragh, who clearly didn’t want to pay but whose conscience got the better of him because he had to walk past the actors who had just entertained him for the past three hours. They can’t do ticketed events there…so the other option is shut down the venue…Go speak to the DTCM if you are that bothered and find out why – just because you ‘see ticketed events in Dubai’ doesn’t mean you can do it everywhere. What a stupid inference. You’re lucky that venues are willing to take the risk of a huge fine to support local theatre groups so you had the option of doing something and then being an internet consumer hero. Loads of people go to the Courtyard every week and choose not to pay.

    Great Show, Great Venue.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Phil Apaza

      Phil Apaza#6

      December 3, 2016

      I’m happy this platform can provide a place for dialogue and discussion about the performing arts here. And, man, do we need discussion. But I’m hoping it can remain a bit more civil than this. We’ve left the option that you can put any name, because we want people to be able to comment anonymously if they like… and, hell, this is the internet, I can’t expect that not to be used in different ways, both hilarious and evil.

      If we’re going to have people coming in from outside our orgy of a community, then we might want to take a look at the things we assume and all “know” as gospel, and recognize that maybe some of these people outside the arts community are right, and maybe they have no reason to know or care. This applies to many things. Daragh is right to feel misinformed and guilt-tripped by the “donations”. We all need to take note.

      Reply
  • Rosine Saad#7

    December 3, 2016

    To th person who replied to Daragh (Daragh Stinky Conscience),
    Not all of us are aware of DTCM and how it works. And if this is someone’s first time at the Courtyard, yes, it’s a surprise.
    Maybe one is not prepared to pay because it says free everywhere, maybe on does not have cash and feels bad in front of other people for not paying.
    We do know that venues like this need to survive and we do appreciate the effort and the risk they’re going through to support local performing art community.
    Again, it is not the audience problem how a theatre is managed, audience abide by what is written the Ad of the show. And not all audience are aware of DTCM and its regulations, one needs to be involved to understand how it works.
    No need to insult the audience, who genuinely already felt scammed, if you are really supporting community theater, if you explained it to them, they will understand.
    I dunno who you are, I’m commenting in my real name and so is Phil and Daragh, but your hidden name and entire behavior shows an immature approach to the subject.
    Daragh, it was a great show to enjoy, we are used to the donations to help out productions, please don’t feel bad about it or scammed by the system.
    Rosine.

    Reply
  • Kemsley#8

    December 3, 2016

    The Courtyard Playhouse doesn’t use the word ‘free’ in it’s advertising and those guidelines are given to groups hiring. I’m the owner and I agree largely with the above, Rosine, but I do think that using the terms hypocrites, con-artists and scammers to describe a small theatre group trying to finance their work is a little…off. Daragh, I’m happy to issue a full-refund if you want to pop into the Playhouse anytime (just show this post) and to explain how this ‘pay as you feel’ system is not our first choice but us doing our best to keep grass-roots theatre alive here. You can come to any show at any time and choose not to pay a penny, making us the only Theatre in the entire world where this is the case.

    Reply
  • Kemsley#9

    December 3, 2016

    By the way, this got off topic so I forgot to add: My wife saw the show yesterday and said it was wonderful, said that the ‘pay as you feel’ speech at the end didn’t feel pressured at all and was fine and I’m looking forward to seeing it tonight and paying whatever I feel like for a great night’s theatre!

    Reply
  • Rosine Saad#10

    December 3, 2016

    Thank you Kemsley for clearing this issue.
    As I mentioned, we, as community theatre, do appreciate what theatre like The Courtyard Playhouse are doing for the community.
    I didn’t agree with the usage of the terms ‘cons’ and ‘hypocrites’ either, but he doesn’t understand how the system work.
    Keep up the good work guys and see you soon.
    Rosine.

    Reply

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