17 January 2020

The Tricycle at Barons Court Theatre was absurd, in a good way

Barons Court Theatre, for reasons I do not quite understand, does not have a mailing list which means that it is a bit hit and miss whether I see all the shows that I would like to see there. I am sure that I am missing out.

I did not miss out on The Tricycle as I was recently doing a check on a few theatres that I had been to and I was tempted by the comments, "a strangely light-hearted tale of poverty and murder" and "perfect example of Spanish Absurd Theatre". That sounded just like me.

The location of the theatre suits me too; it is underneath a pub, The Curtain Up, in a location that is easy for me to get to, funnily enough that is close to Barons Court underground station.

The pub is fairly standard London Gastro these days and there is nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed the veggie option and washed it down with some Winter Warmer. It was pretty busy too with both diners and drinkers so they must be doing something right.

The theatre is in a cave that you get to by pretending that you are going to the toilet. It is an unusual shape too with seating on three sides and with the box office and the technical crew in the corners between them.

I was in early enough to claim a seat in my preferred front row. This was my view for the rest of the evening.

The story, such as it was, concerned four down and outs two of whom had been earning a little money by hiring a tricycle and charging children for taking rides on it. Actually, one of those two men slept almost all the time.

Another man played the flute, badly, as the sign reveals. Completing the gang was a woman.

The story, such as it was, concerned their plan for getting enough money to be able to hire the tricycle again and the consequences of that. But this was absurd theatre and the story did not really matter, that was just a driver for the dialogue. It being absurd I am finding it had to describe, there are no easy reference points though Waiting for Godot is not not unreasonable.

One of the things I liked in the play was the language game that two of the men played. Again I think a reference point might help and this time it is the game Mornington Crescent, the main difference being that one person concedes defeat rather than claiming the win. The words they used were, understandably, like a nonsense poem and there was no obvious connection between them. There may well have been real rules that they were aware of but which the audience was not told about. This is also similar to a game from I am Sorry I Haven't a Clue called Word for Word. These are my reference points from my history and I would be very surprised indeed if the play's author was aware of them.

It is worth making the point that The Triangle was absurd, not silly, and if you like absurdity (Spike Milligan, Monty Python, ...) then you will find it very entertaining. I did.

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