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Weights at The Blue Elephant Theatre London

 

Reviewed By Belinda Otas

 

2 Stars

 

When you cannot leave and do not have much to look forward to, you become a prisoner of the State. Set in the slums of Havana Cuba, Weights, depicts a day in the life of five Cubans; the artist, the prostitute, the wife and her husband; the boxer.

 

A dreamer who sits by the phone all day long, waiting for that one phone call that will change his life and the old man, who smokes more than he has strength for and just waiting for the inevitable death.

 

Short-listed for Channel 4’s The Play’s the Thing, Weights also raises the question: is Cuba a tropical idyll where the sun never sets, or a stifling prison where the days never end?

 

Written by the celebrated Cuban-American playwright Jesse Quinones and directed by David Mercatali; together they tell a story of lost dreams and hopes, feelings of entrapment by the citizens of a nation and the ills that face ordinary day to day Cubans.

 

These folks are looking for a way of escape, yet it seems so elusive. Vineeta Rushi in the role of Guapa the prostitute, offers herself to the foreigners because she has no choice - that’s all she knows to do in order to survive.

 

It is a vicious cycle and Geoff Aymer in the role of Viejo, the elderly man is a reminder to the younger generation of what their life will turn out to be. Their lives are intertwined by a cord of stifled dreams. According to Sonador the painter, played by George Couyas, “We are all yet dreamers and I’m the biggest of all.”

 

Great attempts to show the pain of these characters results in dense dialogues that lacked humour and which also failed to ease the audience into the story. There are moments when you feel there is more smoking on stage than acting.

 

Characters slip in and out of their ability to maintain the use of Cuban accent. While theatre is not just about evoking pain, you do feel the characters could have been infused with more emotions to show the depth of their anger at the sour taste of life they have to endure.

 

Main Picture by Caroline Marks features George Aymer and Olayinka Giwa.

 

Weights is now showing at The Blue Elephant Theatre

For more information visit: www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk

Tel: 0207 701 0100

 

Belinda Otas is a London-based freelance journalist and the New Black Magazine's theatre critic. She can be reached at belindaotas@thenewblackmagazine.com

 

 

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