Daniel Kitson's new untitled show.Photo courtesy of the Traverse Theatre.
BOTTOM LINE: Back with another premiere, Daniel Kitson simultaneously presents his wonderful and familiar brand of storytelling while trying to distance himself from it.
Kitson: the man, the myth, the legend. Pushed by the weight of his own reputation, Daniel Kitson returns to the Traverse Theatre for the Fringe, determined to steer clear of the same old existential meanderings and sad, lonely old men that have made his name. The resulting unendingly self-referential and meta performance is clever and amusing, but certainly strikes a lighter chord than previous work, though this seems to have been his intention. As of 1:52pm GMT on Friday April 27th 2012, This Show Has No Title, titled, supposedly, thanks to the piece’s less-than-meticulous organization, plays now through August 26th at Traverse Theatre 1.
Capitalizing on the fact that typical audience members are going to be die-hard Kitson fans (Fitsons? Fantsons?), at the very least familiar with his work in some way, Kitson presents this highly metatheatrical script unfolding in four parallel stories – two entirely fictional characters, an old man in hospital, Max, and his doting nurse to which Max divulges his life story; two fictional characters based on Kitson and his supposed co-writer, chatting about the fictional story while moving the narrative along; Daniel Kitson in the play telling a phone companion about his progress writing the previous two levels of fictional characters; and Daniel Kitson live reading the play, characters, stage directions and all, with plenty of asides. All this swirls together in a haze of doubtful believability, much like his previous work. Known for depicting characters with so much pathos and detail that it’s easy to discredit the impossibility of their existence, Kitson certainly delivers his hallmark brand of succinct storytelling once again. However, as he succeeds in making this story less precious, As of 1:52pm is also less pressing and less prescient.
Nonetheless, Kiston upholds his reputation for being a pleasure to see and hear, even if the price of admission this go around does not guarantee a handsome heaviness or heartsickness that lingers after departing the theatre. Tickets remain difficult to come by, so certainly take advantage of any that become available.
(As of 1:52pm GMT on Friday April 27th 2012, This Show Has No Title plays at the Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, through August 26, 2012. Performances are daily through August 26 (not 20). Tickets are sold out online, though limited returned tickets may be available day of at the Traverse Theatre box office.)
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