Friday, 22 July 2016

Review: The Fix, Union

"It's just me and me alone who knows the score"

The Union is dead, long live the Union. Southwark's Union Theatre has now moved into its new premises just across the way and for their debut production there, have returned to their 2012 production of John Dempsey and Dana P Rowe's The Fix. Michael Strassen returns to direct a new cast but I have to admit that I think this is just a show that I am not destined to ever get on with.

I struggled with it four years ago and this time round found it no less problematic, perhaps even more so given the current state of political affairs on both sides of the ocean. With the post-Brexit omnishambles and the continued rise of Trumpism so fresh in our minds, fictional political satire is barely needed and it would be flattering The Fix to label it so, for it's much more pulpy than that, soap opera-like even.

Which would be fine if the whole production were geared towards that interpretation, and Lucy Williamson and Ken Christiansen's manipulative politicos pretty much steal the show with their over-the-top turns as the mother and uncle of a prospective US presidential candidate. But Madalena Alberto is just too classy a performer to ham it up thus, delivering a rare moment of real emotion, and Fra Fee's Cal is fatally underpowered and underplayed.

Rowe's score remains an oddity as well, amended slightly here with a new song or two, but remaining tonally very uncertain, which further contributes to the lack of focus in the production as a whole. Blocking in this new space may also turn out to be a bit of an issue, sit on the front 2 rows if you possibly can, they're clearly still working out how to use it to its best advantage.

Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 6th August

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