Review: Change, Arturo Brachetti

ld_640x800I must surely be asking for an early death at the moment, for it would appear that I have once again managed to (just) survive another one man show. In the past month alone I’ve seen three, which for me, is rather impressive. Let me once again make it clear that there is a very thin lined played with a man one show. For one person to be able to hold an audiences attention span for the duration of a show is challenging, no it’s far more than that… it’s a fear in every actors mind. It can be amazing when done right, such as James Theierree in his performance of Raul, or it can go hideously wrong like Arturo Brachetti in his new show Change playing at the Garrick Theatre.

Let me make it clear: This performance is awful. It gains my award for the worst show of 2009.

For those of you familiar with theatre from this year, I regretfully did not get to see the flop that was Too Close To The Sun which I believe has gained the award for worst show of 2009 by most people.

Arturo Brachetti is the Italian master as a quick-change artist. Rapidly changing clothes/costumes within seconds, through a whole variety of themes. The problem with Brachetti’s skill is that it’s limited. There is only a certain amount of time that you can change ‘rapidly’ from one costume to another, because quite frankly, after a while you start to think… “I get it”.

So how does Brachetti make sure that he grasps our attention? By turning his quick change ability into a full length West End production, complete with a gripping storyline and comedy to make your sides split with laughter. Yes? Well actually, No. He has lengthened his show to a horrible running time of an hour and 45 minutes, with a drawn out 15 minute interval, then attempted to weave together a fabricated storyline of his past, meeting with his present, which leads to his future death.

The show is tedious, with repetitive mentions of his ‘new big act’, which is actually him ‘dying and flying to heaven’. Thank heavens for that, because quite frankly I could have fallen asleep during what felt like a stand up comedy night for beginners. Arturo Brachetti is not a funny man. A single quick change into a costume was left far too long, it just seemed that everything was drawn out in a desperate measure to make this show qualify for a full scale production.

After the first act several people didn’t return from the interval, and not surprising at all. Seriously, how did this show ever get pitched to Nimax Theatre’s?! I’ll be surprised if it actually manages to last the full 10 week run that is in store for the Garrick Theatre, but let’s hope they have a backup plan.

The only praise worthy thing about the show was that it had good video material which was projected onto an interesting rotating square box. The visual artist behind this is worth a mention. Horrah! But a show needs much more than a good projector show. It needs substance, life, it needs more than someone doing a quick change act which could have been done in one act.

Oh and don’t get me started on the use of smoke. The award for the excessive use of smoke goes of 2009 goes to Change by Arturo Brachetti. At least it looked good under the lighting design which involved the most moving lights I’ve seen in a while.

I’m not even sure this show would entertain children, even the most engaging of children. I just want to shout: Why Nimax, why? Why Brachetti, Why?… and finally… Why did I stay for the second act?!

Change by Arturo Brachetti runs at the Garrick Theatre until 3rd January 2009, book tickets if you dare through Nimax Theatre’s website

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