Triangle, Looking for the Tallyman

Review in Issue 10-4 | Winter 1998

The English media and chattering classes are currently obsessed with the question of national identity, particularly as European unification and Scottish and Welsh devolution continue to move apace. With England’s global power diminished and her national institutions being reassessed, it’s hardly surprising that the English are suffering a crisis of identity as the new Millennium approaches.

This theme provides the motif which threads through Triangle’s patchy production of Looking for the Tallyman. Wartime memories, folk tales and archetypal images of England are all woven into a rather frayed dramatic quilt. In the quintessentially English setting of a garden, two children (played by Richard Talbot and Carran Waterfield) investigate their heritage through role-play and song. National symbols are used as building blocks. Talbot covers his nakedness with a Union Jack and later poses as St. George, and both children become aeroplanes to act out their own version of the Battle of Britain.

Both actors are obviously talented. However, in this performance, Waterfield confuses shouting for dramatic power, and Talbot’s performance lacks energy and attack. Much of the play’s atmosphere and tension comes from the somewhat lazy use of music created for other productions, such as Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach. The whole performance seems to ignore the potential of the space, and Janet Vaughan’s creaky set reduces the already limited playing area, restricting the ability of the actors to give full physical expression to their roles.

The English really do deserve a more imaginative obituary.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-4
p. 22