Coconut Raft Review

March 25, 2010

Juxtaposing between a jailbreak and a musical about that jailbreak, Coconut Raft is an amusing, interesting if ultimately uninvolving piece of theatre. Featuring one Lecoq trained actor (Bryan Quinn) and two inexperienced ones (Bobby McGlynn, Sean Carpio) it uses a combination of movement, music and spoken word to bring to life three desperate criminals and the nightmarish night they try to break free. It’s physically and visually engaging, with some truly beautifully melodies and harmonies. Bobby McGlynn shows some raw potential as a prisoner with a hair trigger temper while Sean Carpio provides the shows one genuinely moving moment as a murderer who realises that his victims family are, most likely, praying for him to die.

But it’s still a work in progress. Given their lack of training and the turn around time they had from devising the piece to staging it (7 weeks) this is an impressive vaudeville like show. With a little more work it could be a better one .I think more distinction needs to be made between the horrors the original prisoners went through and the more upbeat musical numbers and while I liked the boys individual monologues, I think the group scenes would be far more effective, and far more absorbing, as a silent mime. A little more care needs to be taken with the performers personal energies when the focus isn’t on them and certain elements of the plot, which I can’t reveal here, needed to be clearer.

I left the theatre with a smile on my face and a hankering to see more of what this company to offer in future but also a wish that what I’d just seen was a little more succinct.

Check out my interview with the lads here


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