Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Intermission

Pacitti Company
Soho Theatre
(2009)

Publicity image

A piece in the style of poor theatre, representative of the poor moralistic times in which we live, Intermision presents us with an hour of words and rough images exploring the state of both the nation and beyond.

Nine tent-like structures are lined up on the bare stage of Soho Theatre with a woman sitting alone alongside them. Dressed in tight blue jeans and an ill-fitting white jumper, Sheila Ghelani methodically unveils a microphone under each structure, each with a different sign on it, the central microphone being named "Intermission". At this stand sit five cans of Stella Artois which Ghelani opens and begins to drink.

She strides purposefully between microphones. At "Fact" she reads the dictionary definitions of words and recounts the flight patterns of swallows; the "High Horse" stand sees her impersonate nationalistic characters spouting about immigrants arriving to the UK: "You will dilute us...It can't get all mixed up."; and she recounts everything that has penetrated her at the " Numbers" stand.

As she moves between microphones, a soundtrack which encompasses a jazzy version of Radiohead's Creep, a haunting repeat of a woman weeping and edited speeches from American politicians such as Bill & Hillary Clinton, overpowers the mostly charming speech.

The whole evening is improvisational in feel, but Ghelani along with Robert Pacitti haven't made a piece which gels to make a satisfying whole. They hop between the state of our materialistic world to the gods which rule so many people's lives. Much is amusing and insightful: a soundbite about Barack Obama is juxtaposed with Ghelani dipping her hand in black paint and clips of Sarah Palin are matched with her downing cans of beer.

As she decides its better not to list the ways that she may die, Intermission progresses to a haunting final image of a microphone in flames: the funeral of a voice. It sticks in the mind hours later, as does one of the last lines we hear: "What's the point of anything really?"

Reviewer: Terry O'Donovan