Explorative but limited, Karaoke Play introduces interesting ideas of one’s own purpose, how we relate to others and what we deem as success, but fails to perceptively explore these ideas to the intriguing extent that is possible.
The mixed bag that is this show entertains various themes and allows us a certain amount of thinking room until it destroys its own magic by spoon feeding the audience the meaning behind every individual narrative.
Taking us on a journey through four interconnected monologues all centred around their experiences with different characters in the pub, all characters endeavour to fulfil the dreams they have never let go off.
Confusing at times, the show varies dramatically from character to character in quality of narrative. Perri (Lucy Bromilow), Kelly (Jackie Pulford), Linford (Christopher Jenner Cole), despite a sense of nuance to their characters, fails to develop the show’s potential narrative set up. However, Darren (Phillip Honeywell) excels as a complex man not particularly invested in the stories of those around him, negotiating his sexuality in his head all while developing a charming yet futile rapport with the audience.
I never feel particularly engaged with the characters, which is odd because all the actors create convincing characters with their own quirks and individual qualities, however I never feel as though I could care or relate to them, and while this may be a Brechtian distancing idea to make us think about the ideas raised, the show leaves no room for that. After carefully setting up ideas for further development, at around two thirds of the way through, each character explains the purpose of their narratives. This is frustrating because the questions posed are interesting: Am I doing this to please you? Have I done something worthwhile with my life? Should I have made a different decision 30 years ago?
Overall, Karaoke Play gives us glimpses to a lot of important contemporary questions, however it fails to be greater than the sum of its parts, which is a shame because the individual parts are intriguing.
Review by Charlie Froy.
Karaoke Play is currently showing until Monday 14th October 2019 at The Bunker. To find out more about the production, visit here…