To use the word in its literal sense, this play was most entertaining. It held ones attention on serious issues because the writer and performers knew how to present them with deft humour, keeping you wondering how a plot based on delusion and dysfunctional family relations was going to work out.

If the play’s intention was to show the effect of social isolation on deranging family life, the characters were already predisposed to abnormal behaviour, showing for example signs of Tourette’s and Asperger syndrome. The visiting doctor was the ‘normal’ voice for the audience to relate to as the other characters behaved in bizarre ways, for example gagging, tying up or pouring water over each other to douse unruly passions.

The focus of the action was the dying of Dada, the father. The play’s central irony was that although he was blind, through accident rather than design he had won an award for Blavatsky's Tower as a 'visionary' architect. There was no furniture in the apartment other than shelves full of books, the one chiefly featured being Paradise Lost, the first to be burned in one of the family’s desperate bids to purge their doomed lives. When a chair was introduced into the household, each character was thrown into relief as they reacted to such intrusion in different ways. I liked the use of other symbolism too, e.g the ornamental plant that would not bear fruit, a metaphor perhaps for the award-winning tower housing people who could only have incestuous relations.

Living on the top floor to be close to Heaven as possible, there was tension throughout that someone would throw themselves off the roof. As tragicomedy I believe Blavatsky's Tower worked. While not pretending the family situation was anything but desperate, the play was full of humorous dialogue and well-drawn characters that sparked against each other in amusing as well as abrasive ways. The actors all performed well, showing off to good effect a script that crackled with good lines. There was just one piece of humorous action which might be seen as predictable, cod even, as the son and one daughter are attempting to revive Dada on his deathbed.  I would be interested in whether you think this worked so after you’ve been to see it, tonight or tomorrow, why not post a reply?

 

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