This performance is held in a room where animal autopsies were once carried out with, it appears, little attention to interior decoration since. This lends a strange sense of awkwardness offset by a selection of random plastic items lying around the place. Then Jack Klaff comes out. As you would expect of an established actor, he waits for applause, then immediately explains this pause is a trick of the actor to receive more affirmation.
What follows over the next hour is a run-down of the shows that might have been put on at the Summerhall but were rejected for various reasons, a few political digs at funding, an explanation of what shows are fashionable and why; in fact, almost a lecture in disguise… albeit one of the most entertaining lectures about drama that you could have. This is interwoven with a recurring theme of his journey with his own mother who is suffering memory loss. With this he is able to draw out the importance of “the moment” for triggering happy memories or bringing a play alive.
Klaff makes passing mention of a previous review where he was accused of being old-fashioned. This was simply inaccurate. Skills and techniques of acting haven’t changed and this event should be looked at more as a passing on of valuable knowledge. He acknowledges and recognises that fashions change and now things are becoming more visceral.
This show is for real aficionados of the theatre. For any drama students who are maybe looking for another aspect to their art they could do worse than popping in to see this show. They might even get thrown some ideas for their own shows next year.