Thursday, 5 November 2009

Tough Time, Nice Time - Birmingham Rep

Tough Time, Nice Time
Writer:Jon Haynes and David Woods
Reviewer: Rob Yates

Tough time, nice time was written, created and performed by Jon Haynes and David Woods. It premiered at the Barbican Pit in february 2008 and is now touring nationally and internationally. The duo are the last remaining founders of Ridiculusmus which was formed in 1992.

The one act play is a graphic trip down memory lane for the two protagonists, both naked Germans in a sauna in Bangkok. Its a meandering discussion through gay sex and genocide, with cameos from the world of movies and celebrity. The vivid descriptions of unfortunate moments in their lives were sometimes compelling other times unsettling. Full of dark humour it was highly disturbing in parts as one couldn't help thinking that this could be a conversation that Jon and David have had themselves. There are occasional moments of light humour and surprise that serve to ease, however briefly, the mind of the audience who struggle to relate to the concepts. I couldn't feel any connection with the characters and so struggled to grasp the point.

Jon and David do an excellent job of utilising a bath as the full set for this show. As one can imagine there isn't much room for movement with two naked guys sat in a bath tub, but with a rapid dialogue and subtle changes of expression Jon and David ease the initial realisation that you are eavesdropping on two naked guys sitting in a bath tub. The rapid conversation ebbs and flows just like conversation between two strangers would, creating a sense of reality in the concept.

Tough time, nice time is an unusual act full of challenging concepts. If dark humour is your thing then you'll love this drama that encapsulates modern concepts of identity. A real challenge for the casual viewer, I couldn't help but laugh at the bizarreness of the show once I had left the theatre.

Runs until sat the 7th Nov
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