An Actor's Lament (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

An Actor's Lament

Performance maverick Steven Berkoff complains about the problems of theatre

An Actor’s Lament holds no real surprises: Steven Berkoff lambastes the egos of theatre in a three-handed conversation that is delivered in high flown language and with cheeky irony. His voice is powerful and his complaints are precise, if over familiar. Unfortunately, the anguish never escapes being about theatre, and this lament remains an inward cry of pain at the state of the art.

The pleasure is in watching three skilled performers work Berkoff’s script: the attacks on actor-managers and directors are gradually undermined by counter-arguments and a dry humour emerges from each character’s self-interest. While the opening rant against critics is predictable, there is a good humour in the roasting: Berkoff plays with his own image mercilessly, and takes joy in delivering exaggerated insults.

Berkoff is not making an original or scathing contribution to his body of work here, with the production coasting on the reputation of the artist and the confidence of the performances. Nevertheless An Actor’s Lament is entertaining and playful: an hour spent in the company of curmudgeonly raconteurs who deserve to be indulged for their wit and panache.

Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 20 Aug, 2.30pm, £18–£20 ((£16–£18)

Actor's Lament

  • 3 stars

Assembly. Steven Berkoff stars with Jay Benedict and Andree Bernard in this glimpse backstage, lifting the curtain on the bizarre and often hilarious world of theatre. From precious playwrights and dictator directors to the good will (or otherwise) of the critics - a maze of thickets the actor must negotiate before they…