Monday, 10 March 2014

Review: I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me Of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole, Gate

“If I am to lose sleep for a night, then let it bloody well at least be over a painting by Goya”

Putting on a new play in West London? Well, you’d better get yourself a wordy title. The Bush have just opened We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the GermanSudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 – 1915 and now the Gate are going with the shorter but rather more obtuse I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me Of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole.

And obtuse really is the word. Rodrigo García’s one-man play, translated here by William Gregory, follows a father railing against the state of the world and its materialistic concerns, who decides to blow his life savings on a road trip with his two sons. He plans to take them to the Prado in Madrid to break in and stare at Goya paintings all night long, the only slight problem is that they would rather to go to Disneyland. 

Faced with no stage directions from the writer, a director can let their imagination run wild and Jude Christian’s production is bursting with imagination and innovation. The opening sequence is a gorgeous, surrealist dream that Fly Davis’ set design facilitates magnificently as Joshua Pharo’s lighting swirls around evocatively. And Steffan Rhodri delivers the monologue with a wonderfully warm-eyed twinkle, coping admirably with what Christian throws at him.

For his two sons are played by two piglets, who skitter, squeal and (on this night at least) shit all over the stage. It’s a brilliantly bonkers decision and one that casts the paternal relationship in an entirely new light, not least when for a snack Rhodri sticks a rasher in a pan and proceeds to his bacon sarnie with the ‘kids’ in full view. But that is Goya in a nutshell, daring and densely layered, cynical and comically dazzling, powerful, porcine, poetic.

Running time: 50 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 29th March

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