Reservoir Dogs (2 stars)

This article is from 2011.

Reservoir Dogs

Unimaginative adaptation of Tarantino’s heist movie

Quentin Tarantino has his fair share of detractors – those who claim his films make up for their lack of originality with profanity and violence. These people should swipe an extra star or two from this review, since Tarantino’s plot and dialogue are almost all it’s got going for it.

It’s a shame, because Reservoir Dogs is a story that lends itself generously to the stage. Much of the action takes place on a single set, with no great special effects necessary barring the occasional discharge of firearms. It does include a few flashbacks back and forth that an enterprising theatre company might find a way to adapt creatively or excise altogether; unfortunately Tripwire is not that company – the film in it's entirety is up there on stage, with scenes linked by clumsy transitions (scenery stills are projected in place of the real thing) and the occasional no-budget video clip.

The acting is variable: David Ayres, Paul Rookes and Joe Mellor distinguish themselves as Mr Pink, Nice Guy Eddie and kidnapped cop Marvin Nash respectively, but American accents prove too slippery for most of the cast to maintain for the duration, and Tarantino’s rat-a-tat dialogue is often fudged or fumbled.

The production’s aim to raise money for charity is admirable, but exists as the sole reason to go see the play – for entertainment value, you’d be better off watching the film.

Reservoir Dogs

  • 2 stars

Tarantino's classic, set against the backdrop of a heist gone bad and the fall out that ensues. Tensions run high throughout with little respite, characters weave inexplicably together, climaxing in the finale pitting friendships against friendships. In true Tarantino fashion a thin thread of humour lays dormant only to…

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1. Tom198918 Aug 2011, 11:53am Report

Having read this review after watching the show on its opening night, I was more than a little surprised that it has been given only two stars. If your are a fan of the film or one of the many people who have never quite got round to watching it, this is precisely the type of production you would like to see.

I am a great fan of Tarantino's work: he makes films in styles that grip the viewer in ways other directors simply either don't think of or don't even dare try. So after receiving a flyer for the show I decided to take a look with the hope of seeing a production that captures the tense, exciting and shocking atmosphere the film creates so well - of course with a bit of Tarantino's dark humour thrown in along the way. And this is exactly what the show provides.

Very briefly, the plot focuses on the aftermath of a diamond heist gone wrong, frequently shifting between the timeline of ensuing events which gradually reveals the culprit behind the failed heist. Tripwire recreate the film almost line for line, switching between live on-stage acting with a live camera projecting close ups of some of the scenes, and pre-recorded scenes which obviously couldn't be recreated in the small venue the play takes place in.

I personally found the acting to be extremely polished and although some of the props are evidently low budget, you quickly realise you don't care as this is a show which is heavily reliant upon two things; a fantastically written plot and the individual acting skills of the cast to help bring it to life live on stage. These Tripwire guys have nailed it.

In conclusion, this is a show that will please fans of the film along with those who are unfamilar with Tarantino's work immensely. Ive been coming to the fringe for several years now, and I often find myself disappointed with pretentious adaptations of classics which try too hard to add their own stamp on the play. With Tripwire what you see is what you get: a gripping, accurate production which captures all the emotions you remember going through when you sat down and watched the film for the first time. 4.5 stars.

2. Robert Young18 Aug 2011, 1:35pm Report

As a first time visitor to the festival and a huge Tarantino fan, then naturally I was drawn in by the lure of Tripwire's adaptation of Reservoir Dogs. I've got to say I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it.

There will be those detractors who claim the set could have been more lavish and the transitions could have been a little smoother, but for me that only enhanced the viewing pleasure. The genius of this production is not in the special effects or the scenery, moreover it is exactly where it should be and that’s in the deliverance.

Each of the cast members portrayed Tarantino’s characters well and I’m sure if Quentin Jerome had been sat in the audience he would have shouted ‘Bravo’ come the final curtain. All too often people are seduced by CGI’s, over the top make-up effects and sumptuous costumes. Ask Tarantino what’s important in a film or theatre production and he’ll agree with my sentiments. Reservoir Dogs the movie cost peanuts to make and yet it has become ‘the cult movie’ of several generations, why? Because of the acting skills of the cast and not the wallet of the producer.

So upon reading Niki Boyle’s review I was dismayed at her comments decrying the production of Tripwire’s Dogs. However, after a ‘Google’ session I discovered Ms Boyle was the casting director for the box office flop ‘Bring it on… A champion high school cheerleading squad discovers its previous captain stole all their best routines from an inner-city school and must scramble to compete at this year's championships’.

No wonder she didn’t care for this performance of Reservoir Dogs, there wasn’t a pom-pom or a cheerleader in sight!

Keep up the good work boys and don’t let the ‘Inglorious Bas***ds’ grind you down!

3. Eddy Swift18 Aug 2011, 2:58pm Report

I was interested in seeing this adaptation of Reservoir Dogs after a friend saw it on Monday night. I have to say I was very impressed with the way this film has been actualised on stage. The set is simple, but an imaginative use of live action elements and on stage action bring it perfectly to life. After reading the above review, I share the opinion of the two comments above. The talent of the cast would have made Tarantino proud. It was a delight to see it brought to life in front of my eyes. In my opinion, I have never seen many productions like this at the fringe, and it is a definite must for anyone who is, or could be a Tarantino fan. A definite 5 stars.

4. Henry200121 Aug 2011, 10:02pm Report

It's interesting reading the above comments about this play and particularly about the reviewer.
Having seen the play on Wed evening I happen to agree most of the things that she has said; the techniques may be quite innovative in Bradford but have been done at The Fringe for years and some of the acting was suspect to say the least; slightly self indulgent if the truth were known! However, this isn't the point, if you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen. Plays are going to get reviews at the biggest theatre festival in the world, did Tripwire not understand this before they came to the Edingburgh??
In the end, Boyle's review is just her opinion and that is what she is paid(?) to do...but it is only one person's point of view and that is how it should be seen; I wonder if there would have been pathetic attempts to dis-credit the reviewer by cast or company members, (the above comments are obviously by these people) if she had been kind to the production? I presume she would have been a renowned theatre expert full of knowledge and wisdom.
Move on, take it on the chin and learn from your mistakes.

5. LesFreebush22 Aug 2011, 4:22pm Report

Saw this in Bradford with a home crowd. I was dismayed at the lack of integrity in the production and in the opinions of friends and family post show.

The review gives the sort of feedback Tripwire need to heed and understand. This Dogs is trapped in it's own little ego bubble. Still, I hope they got the audiences needed to make some money for the good causes they shout about supporting.

Good comment Henry - totally agree...We've all had bad crit!

6. Reeved25 Aug 2011, 7:02pm Report


What a patronising and acidic comment to post! I'm sure everybody in the hinterlands is heartbroken and utterly depressed at not being so close to the media and cultural world centre that is the fringe!!! I mean what hope has anybody from Bradford of all places, in achieving the cultural highlight you seem to suggest should be the only thing seen at the Fringe!!

The review and your opinion may well have been accurate, and if so my remorse at missing the production is somewhat abated, but the attitude you bring forth towards the company, and more particularly their origin is appauling.

Take note anybody considering doing something at the fringe next year, especially if you're from the culturally backwards areas of the country!!

7. Tom198930 Aug 2011, 9:24pm Report

"In the end, Boyle's review is just her opinion and that is what she is paid(?) to do...but it is only one person's point of view and that is how it should be seen"

Couldn't agree more, the same goes for the comment I made - its just my opinion (that's what the comments section is for).

"Still, I hope they got the audiences needed to make some money for the good causes they shout about supporting."

You seem to be saying this as if it is a bad thing for them to shout about it? That's a shame...

I'm glad there is some debate on this, as would be expected with a Tarantino remake.

Fwiw I am not part of the cast or crew, just a Tarantino fan.

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