A slightly disappointed
crowd left the Liverpool Playhouse after the final show in Steven Berkoff’s heavily
publicised ‘Trilogy’ – a three night run of one man shows.
One Man was billed as a three act social satire, but the show comprised of only
two acts, the middle act was missing. The advertised After Words did not go ahead
(as they did not for the other shows in the run) and many members of the audience
appeared confused when he took his final bow and the lights went up.
Everyman and Playhouse Executive Director, Jo Beddoe, came out to explain to members
of the audience who sat patiently waiting for more, citing exhaustion on Berkoff’s
part, misinformation regarding the organisation of the After Words event and a
re-working of the show. The crowd was hungry for a longer performance, and it
felt like there was something missing.
Berkoff’s stage presence was formidable, and flawless. For the first act, a retelling
of Edgar Allen Poe’s gothic horror story, The Tell Tale Heart, Berkoff’s representation
of a character whose intrinsic madness leads to murder was portrayed with excellent
depth. As each twist of the character’s story was revealed, a further layer of
his personality was vividly exemplified on stage. However, occasional ad-libbing
ensured that you knew it was Berkoff on stage.
The second act, Dog, about a man and his relationship with his dog, felt somewhat
lacking, and seemed to end abruptly. On face value, Berkoff’s creation was a mere
stereotypical character representation of a clichéd lager lout. There was a lack
of fulfilment in this act, and it meant that Berkoff left the stage on a weak
moment, which only added to audience confusion.
The missing act, Actor, has previously been heralded as Berkoff at his best, in
terms of physical and emotional theatre, and it was a shame that it was missing.
There was talk afterwards of Berkoff returning later in the year and it can only
be hoped that at this later stage, there is more Berkoff and less hype.
Words: Emma Hardy