The usually infallible Southwark Playhouse has come unstuck with Tanzi Libre, a turgid tale about a female wrestler. Points for ambition though; you have to admire director Ellie Jones’ chutzpah and the ambition of designer Martin Thomas who brings a wrestling ring into the small auditorium. In the end though, the whole is less than the sum of the parts; nothing really comes together, not the music, nor the episodic structure.
“They don’t come for the scenes of marital bliss,” says the MC. “They come for the fighting.” Actually we come for the acting and the story, both of which seem to have been forgotten here. In a play that relies so much on the kinetic energy of the performers only Kazeem Tosin Amore manages to deliver, beneath the burden of bombastic posturing, a performance that is believable and, crucially, audible. The rest of the energetic cast wrestle heroically with a clunking comic book conceit and a script that demands tremendous commitment from the audience without ever really earning it.
This Tanzi Libre needs a tap out.
✭✭ (2 stars)
Runs until 22nd June