Home » London Theatre Reviews » Tiger Written by Joe Eyre at Omnibus Theatre | Review

Tiger Written by Joe Eyre at Omnibus Theatre | Review

Perhaps I have become too accustomed to the type of show where things happen, and things happen quickly. When Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) decides to have a clearout, it’s bad enough that the audience must sit through it, without being able to see properly what it is she is deciding to throw away (it is reasonable to assume she doesn’t stick everything into black bags, recycling where appropriate), keep or otherwise give away. But the scenes – yes, plural – in which she goes through what she wants to do with various items become a metaphor for the show as a whole, and not always in a good way.

TigerA bizarre play with so many knock-knock jokes from Tiger (Meg Lewis) that even Alice, a standup comedian, tires of them, the show raises more questions than it answers. While a commitment to get an audience to think deeply about the issues the show raises is commendable, this only serves to shine a light on quite how much of the story constitutes ‘first world problems’. Alice has reason to be angry with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), a hospital doctor, but chooses to play ‘happy couples’ rather than openly confront the situation and, at least until the end of the narrative, refuses to view the circumstances surrounding the demise of her late father through anyone’s perspective but her own.

Tiger, apparently sporting a New Jersey accent (I can’t vouch for it either way, alas), is a person in a tiger costume, a perennially chirpy cheeky chappie complete with a long tail and an old-style bicycle helmet. He comes to stay with Oli and Alice after he responds to an advert from them seeking a lodger, but there is very little background detail about Tiger, the reasons for which eventually become clear. A very long runway-style stage, with the audience sat on two ‘platforms’, on either side of the action, brought to mind one of those ridiculously long dining tables found in properties big enough to have them. In one scene, patrons sat in the middle might as well have been watching a tennis match as the dialogue flowed between Oli and Alice sat at opposite ends of the room, with Tiger running around, coming on and off stage and going to each end, serving dinner.

Quite what Tiger was talking about wasn’t always easy to follow: I was left completely baffled by a digression into particles, energy and black holes, let alone how they related to Alice’s prolonged bereavement. The interactions between Alice and Tiger, however (always platonic, for the avoidance of doubt), are various iterations of more or less the same thing, with the story going round in circles instead of progressing. Such is the nature, perhaps, of how some people’s grieving process is, but it doesn’t make for riveting theatre.

Nunn’s Oli was the standout for me, showing compassion and care as much as he was able, whilst demonstrating pragmatism. His frustration becomes palpable, and results in some unfortunate behaviour, which he shows equally palpable contrition for. The show does well to portray the pressures placed on the Olis of this world, who look after someone with mental ill health at home whilst in full-time employment. The comedy, however, largely failed to land with me, even if the cast work well together and are evidently committed to their roles: they “gave it their all”, to quote a fellow theatregoer as we were on the way out.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

Alice is grieving and she’s lost her way. Oli is a doctor but he can’t make her better.
Struggling to make rent, they advertise for a flatmate and a mysterious stranger called Tiger arrives: they’re the strangest person you could meet, but to Alice, Tiger makes perfect sense.

Blurring the lines between comedy and tragedy, the real and the imaginary, this moving new play explores the mysteries of grief: how we befriend it, get lost in it, and find a way to live with it.

TIGER
PRESENTED BY JESSIE ANAND PRODUCTIONS
DIRECTED BY MYLES O’GORMAN
WRITTEN BY JOE EYRE

7 NOV-2 DEC 2023
https://www.omnibus-clapham.org/

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