Courtesy of Alterego productions
A touch of Brazilian colour is added to the night with the temperature in the theatre getting very close indeed to the 40 degrees Celsius mentioned in the synopsis of the second play.
The Assault, which is only now getting its UK premiere, may have been novel in 1969 Brazil, when it was written, to the point of earning it several awards, but its themes have been explored in greater details since then.
Jose Vincente’s portrayal of class and race relations, urban Angst, and loneliness now only reads as a succession of clichés even if Esses, met in the beer garden after the shows, thinks it is still representative of the social dynamics of contemporary São Paolo.
The two male actors saddled with the task of bringing the text to life are thus left with an almost insurmountable task, not made any easier by the ineffective and distracting inclusions of Portuguese interjections throughout the dialogue.
Still the cast makes a good job of showing the utter alienation of those two characters, who, despite the various intimacies (that includes sex) created by the situation they are in (an empty office at night), are incapable of relating to each other, blinded as they are by their perception of what the other stands for.
The Last Days of Gilda, a revival of a successful production earlier this year at the Arcola Theatre, is a different kettle of fish. This highly entertaining play, set in Gilda’s favela abode, is alive from Gaël Le Cornec’s sassy, funny and sexy one-woman performance (picture).
This is supported by a clever staging (also by Esses – the play was his directorial debut), which includes mischievous interactions with the audience and a very effective use of props to symbolise anything from the food being cooked to the men in Gilda’s life.
Both plays run until the 5th September. Tickets for The Assault: £12 (£10 cons), tickets for The Last Days of Gilda: £10 (£7 cons). £15 for both shows.