Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Endurance @ The Studio, Royal Exchange

The Endurance is utterly mental but complete bloody brilliance. 

The best arts experience, whether it be film, theatre or any of the visual arts, should endow the next few hours with a strange sense of unreality. I blame Ben Faulks mesmerising performance for me wrapping my knock-off pashmina round and round my neck and scurrying over to M&S to buy some thermal underwear. 

I should admit right now that this could not possibly be an unbiased review. From the moment the final raucous, lead poisoned chords of the "tin song" died away I realised I was a little bit in love. I grew up with the myth of polar explorers and all the masculine bullshit that goes with them. In recent years read enough to become aware how nutty, cruel, self absorbed and just plain stupid these fellas were, and Ben Faulks, through his prancing, performative characters, manifests this aspect in strange glory. 

At just under over an hour, this madcap, mesmeric one man play is a glorious bite sized treat. If you're looking for high drama this probably isn't for you, but if you're looking for something intricate, enjoyable and a little off the wall this is for you. In equal measures it's hilarious and fascinating, and the gently revelatory end brings together the disparate parts of the protagonist's madness into a touching and manageable parcel. 

Sadly, The Endurance is only at the Studio, Royal Exchange, for two more days. Quick, go see, be mesmerised and battered by this brilliant, insane, enchanting play. 

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