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A Magazine for Sheffield
Live / stage review

The End at the Lantern Theatre, 18th November.

This play, inspired by Shakespeare's most famous piece of stage direction, sounds like the sort of show that most people would avoid. In fact, when I explained to my colleagues that I would be spending my Friday night watching a post modern play about endings, one of them said they would "rather eat a jar of bumblebees" and would be spending their evening at the pub. A sizeable part of me wanted to go with them but I keep telling myself I should widen my horizons. So off to the theatre I went, even managing to drag my wife along in tow. On a warm November night I went to the Lantern Theatre in Nether Edge with a spring in my step and scepticism lodged firmly in my head. I must confess that the small but appealing setting of the unpretentious theatre did help to shift some of my scepticism; this is a superb venue for intimate plays as you can almost smell and feel the performers. But the foreboding quickly returned when I took my seat and the play had already begun. On stage was a man lying prostrate while another man walked around the stage throwing pieces of card at him, all the while saying "dot". This unconventional beginning was in many ways an accurate precursor for what was to come. As many people don't read the entirety of a review before making their own judgement, I will state now that The End is a really enjoyable hour of theatre that will make you laugh and leave you thinking about it long after the non-existent curtain falls. But it is an eccentric piece that does away with structure while playing out a play within a play. This approach was occasionally confusing and some of the slightly abstract parts were lost on me, but as a whole piece it was a resounding success. The End is supposedly about endings in general but at the heart of the show is the poignant relationship between the two protagonists Michael and Ollie. In the beginning - if there is one - Michael is Ollie's mentor and apparent superior, directing the young protégé on stage. The witty interplay between mentor and pupil not only made me laugh out loud (which isn't difficult), but also made my wife laugh out loud (which is). I'd love to tell you what happens, but I wouldn't like to spoil it even if I could. All in all, this was a confusing, original and entertaining evening. )

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