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Battersea Arts Centre, London

Birmingham based theatre company Babakas’ first production is a story about relationships between fathers and their children. Mike has been asked to donate sperm to a friend of a friend of his late father. Bert, his boyfriend, has issues with his father’s homophobic remarks and Sofia has issues with her domineering father whose shadow, she believes, is preventing her from finding a man and getting pregnant.

The show is presented as monologues, drama, video footage and a small amount of music and dance. The piece is based on the performers’ own experiences and is heartfelt and personal to them. The style is mainly light comedy with audience interaction and a few short sections incorporating some contemporary dance from Bert Roman.

The comedy felt quite contrived and flimsy at times and didn’t always work well. There was the odd inspired line but mostly it just felt like it didn’t quite hit the right note with writing that lacked much sparkle or wittiness and timing that was often slightly off.  The style felt dated and tired rather than fresh and invigorating. The whole piece lacked cohesion and although the dancing was fine, the clips well put together and the format was promising, it failed to deliver much at all overall. The company is a young, enthusiastic and emerging troupe and they show some promise as well as a willingness to be open and genuine about emotion and experience that is commendable but not always very entertaining or interesting to watch. I suspect that this piece looked much better on paper than it did in the flesh.

I suspect that this company may go on to do better work and may develop as performers and writers with time but I couldn’t in all conscience recommend seeing this show in its present format.

  • By Babakas
  • Directed by Juan Ayala
  • Choreographer: Annie Pui Ling Lok
  • Cast: Sofia Paschou, Bert Roman and Mike Tweddle
  • Battersea Arts Centre, London
  • Until 14th June 2014
  • Time: 19.30 (running time: 1 hour)
  • Review by Chris Bridges
  • 12 June 2014

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Chris Bridges is an avid theatre goer who is based in South London. He's been a lifelong theatre fan and loves dramas, musicals and comedy. He is a big fan of Tennessee Williams and has been known to travel extraordinary distances, queue for hours or pay exorbitant amounts to catch anything by Tennessee. Chris is also a vintage fanatic and when not lounging in the stalls in a three piece 50s suit, he can be found lolling on a sofa in his art deco sitting room.

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