A Quiet Word, Gate 45

Review in Issue 11-2 | Summer 1999

A Quiet Word, formerly the Alison Andrews Company, are an established and experienced touring company. It was therefore disappointing to see them present a show, at Komedia’s Theatre of the Imagination Festival, that felt more like a rehearsal.

Gate 45 starts well. The airport luggage carousel at the heart of the story is animated by flashing lights and clunking sounds. The idea of the detritus of a life going round the carousel is an interesting and amusing motif, but the show’s sceneography is not matched by its performers. Alison Andrews, as the traveller confronting her identity, and Leigh Gardner as her alter-ego, are unconvincing. Both the delivery of the spoken text and the physical action are lacking in conviction. The confessional style of the personal revelations has been used more effectively by other companies – Forced Entertainment, for example. And the use of a video camera as a prying tormentor is a tired idea exploited by numerous companies, including Volcano Theatre who used it to better effect in After the Orgy.

Gate 45 seems to be no more than a run-of-the-mill tale of middle-aged, middle-class angst decorated with contemporary performance frills. There are occasional moments of humour and clarity that bring the show to life briefly, but a drastic reworking of the performance text and a real engagement with the material would need to occur to lift this production off the ground. This was the show’s opening night and perhaps it has already developed, but an established company has a responsibility to an audience to present work that is ready, despite the pressure from funding bodies for a fast turnover of new productions.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-2
p. 21