Daniel Kitson: As of 1.52 GMT on Friday April 27th 2012 , This Show Has No Title
Stand-up playwright returns with meta-play monologue
This article is from 2012.
A week after this new play from Daniel Kitson opened, The Telegraph ran a two-star review, describing it as ‘a sorry waste of his undoubted talent – and our time’. Kitson knew someone would do that though. At one point in his one-man play – a breathless, knowing 80-minute monologue about writing a play – he quotes imagined critics: ‘“Dull, self-involved, fucking lazy” - The Indy.’ Kitson is as painfully aware of his cult followers as his haters, and both groups appear in the script.
‘“I’m thinking. I’m laughing. I’m crying – I’ve just been Kitsonned!”,’ gushes another, played by Kitson obviously, who sits for the entire show behind a desk on an empty stage, reading from a stack of papers.
He’s right, too, his new work does involve plenty pleasantly mind-bending, audience-writer-reviewer reflexivity, and more laughter than previous plays. But any crying in the foyer afterwards is notable by its absence – as if Kitson is tired of being tagged as a sentimental peddler of what he calls, stories about ‘the ever-present sorrow of heartbreak’.
So while his story of a commitment-shy man addicted to shedding his belongings is undeniably touching, much of the poignancy of previous plays, The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church or It’s Always Right Now, Until it’s Later has gone. Instead, he has replaced it with more of his trademark snortingly good, now-with-added-slapstick humour.
The media digs, the sad old men, the lonely young women, the ‘staggering level of the writing’ (again, his words) – they’re all still there, only in a repackaged, more playful format, which he admits he chose partly to challenge himself. Storytelling, with a self-critical and savvy twist – to quote Kitson, on himself, yes, it looks like he’s ‘slam-dunked it’ again.
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 26 Aug, times vary, £12 (£10).