Leave to Remain

Mirren Theatre Company
Jackson Lane Theatre
(2004)

Leave to Remain is short and sweet, just an hour of acquaintance with the lives of three rather nice young people in their Kafkaesque journey through the surreal world of immigration. The cast are graduates of Circomedia, the Bristol-based school of physical theatre, and while they are talented physical performers, this show could give them more opportunities to play to their strengths.

This is a series of sketches, loosely linked, in which the absurdity of the (illegal) immigrant's lot is explored. Jumping through hoops to get work and papers, these migrants are vulnerable and always on the edge. Ever open to exploitation, they are lonely and lost, living on wits which, in their naivity, are never quite sophisticated enough to get them through. Sad as it may seem, our sympathies lie with them because they are the eternal losers.

Some of it is really very funny, some of it outright hilarious, and it has a sad ring of truth. The music injects a suitable tone of irony. Yet as an entirety the show remains ultimately unsatisfying. This is work that needs further development. There's plenty of scope here and it needs a tighter framework to bind the whole together.

Ivan Marcos is one of the comic duo Hoax Productions who in Raw Beef has scintillated. And Leave to Remain is directed by John Nicholson, long-standing member of the adorable Peepolycus team. Physical adeptness is their forte, so it is a pity that most of the action was conveyed verbally.

Reviewer: Jackie Fletcher