What a fantastic show. Rarely have I laughed so heartily in the Theatre. The Flick, the Pulitzer prize winning play has made it's way form New York and Chicago to London and sold out immediately. Annie Baker's play is very simply set in a small independent cinema in Massachusetts and yet it's simplicity is its genius.
We follow the lives of Sam, Avery and Rose all of which work at the cinema (The Flick) either sweeping the floors or running the projector. What is so superb about this play is it's honesty and simplicity. We look deeply into the hearts and minds of these three characters over the three and a half hours at the theatre and it is both moving and funny. Baker has created a mundane and banal situation that actually lends itself to giving us real insight to these characters that seem stuck in an almost Sartre like purgatory as they clean the cinema time and again after every showing.
The play ruminates on the nature of art, relationships and life. Its is like being stuck in a Beckettian
universe and Baker also has resonances of Pinter in her work. The staging also seems to nods to Brecht but without the didacticism. The joy comes in watching the tensions between the three of these characters as they enact their daily tasks. There are pauses that really sit and take their time and ask us to focus on those unsaid things that go on in between people in the silences.
This is very much a love letter to the cinema. The play is almost a like an Indy film in itself with it's long empty silences and quirky moments of staging. It ends with the impending doom of the move from 32mm film into Digital Movies as this small cinema gets taken over by a corporate entity and gets forced to play blockbuster movies on a digital projector.
There are great performances here from all three actors and the play is full of lot's of discussions on cinema and films which will certainly engage and excite any cinema/movie enthusiasts. It also touches on mental health, mid-life crises, love, sex, loneliness and pretty much everything and anything you could come to think of.
This is one of the best pieces of theatre in 2016 so far!