Well, there was a certain amount of disagreement in the West End Whingers office over this one – so much so that the bar staff asked us to “keep it down” as people couldn’t hear the karaoke.
Andrew – who has a secret maths geek inside him bursting to get out – was desperate to see A Disappearing Number at The Barbican, it being about “one of the most mysterious and romantic mathematical collaborations of all time”.
Phil, however, responded tartly that he was “so over Complicite” (he’s getting very American these days due to the amount of American telly programmes he watches. He says “OMG!” a lot too).
There followed some rather disagreeable to-ing and fro-ing on the matter and a debate as to (a) whether “Complicite” is the same thing as ” Théâtre de Complicité” (it is) and (b) why they might have dropped the French accents (too pretentious? no, that can’t have been it) and (c) whether “Complicite” is pronounced “compli-site” and (d) if not, why not?
Anyway, the end result was that we were too exhausted from pondering these really important questions , so we sent along Would-be Whinger Samira Ahmed to represent us and asked her to report back on whether or not we should bother. This is her report:
I wouldn’t put it in the same circle of hell as A Matter of Life and Death, but there is a similar moment with nurses in uniform and the casualties of world war one which was banal in the extreme.
The programme was the first warning sign. The first article: the director going on about how fabulously exotic and intoxicating India is. Second: a reproduction of an email from another artiste about how fabulously exotic and exciting India is and how great this show is going to be!
We went with high hopes and it’s had some great reviews, but after a strong start it quickly descends into a tableaux, intercut with banal ITV drama about 40 somethings having a miscarriage. The only fully realised character is the Indian lady at the other end of the phone in a Bangalore call centre. Never mind the maths, clearly it was all a bit too hard trying to understand the enigmatic mathematician they claim is the heart of their story, so he pretty much never says anything!
But I did learn something.. Apparently you can survive for quite a long time eating nothing but rice, salt and lemon juice.
And Paul Bhattarcharjee is always fabulous.
Maybe you’ll love it?
Maybe. We shall never know. Thanks, Samira. You’ve saved us a trip and we promise to buy you that drink eventually.
If you would like to know more about the production there’s a video here.