The Generating Company, Gangstars

Review in Issue 14-2 | Summer 2002

After Storm, the Generating Company present their second show, Gangstars. Opening with a guitarist playing on a girder swinging in the air, he is then lowered to introduce the show as a radio announcer of the 1920s Radio City’s ‘True Life Crimes’.

Set on the dockside our hero steps off a ship (well, a plank), followed by an ensemble scene with a doubles aerial routine on the girder. After the boss character enters they all hide up some handy ropes and watch a moll count some ill-gotten money. Then I lost the plot – I mean, the story got incomprehensibly confusing.

Nevertheless there were some good scenes, the best for me being Melissa Ilsley in a ‘room’ where she performs a seductive acrobatic contortion act on a large chair while the hero (Jerome Beal) is sitting and squirming underneath.

The best performer award goes to Ed Gaughan, the musician/actor who, as well as playing guitar, dulcimer, bass and other instruments, also narrates. At one point in the second half (to cover a scene change), he advances the story by narrating in about ten different American accents at an incredible fast pace – it got a deserved round of applause. Also worthy of a mention is Ian Marchant’s skilful comedy hat routine.

However, as an overall piece of circus theatre it was neither skilful enough to wow, nor theatrically developed enough to engage. Some of the group scenes were poorly choreographed and there was a distinct void of a physical language or style. I felt overall the show was lacking imagination, considering the rich genre of the American hoodlum era.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-2
p. 25