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William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged)

by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor

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Il-Giddieb Għomru Qasir

Il-Giddieb Għomru Qasir

Author:   Anthony Neilson

Translation:   Simone Spiteri

Director:   Chris Gatt

Set Design:   Romualdo Moretti

Dates:   9, 14, 15, 16 October 2016

Venue:   Sala Sir Temi Zammit, Tal-Qroqq

Cast:   Sander Agius, Daniel Chircop, Snits, Michael Tabone, Marylu Coppini, Magda van Kuilenburg, Julie Pomorski

 Summary:   Żewġ pulizjotti iridu jwasslu aħbar ħażina lil koppja anzjana.  Fil-fatt, iridu jgħidulhom li mietet binthom f'inċident tat-traffiku.  Iżda minħabba l-fatt li l-anzjani mdaħħlin sew fl-eta', iwassal lill-pulizija biex jibżgħu li l-aħbar tista' toqtolhom.  Għalhekk jigdbu.  Iżda kull gidba ġġib oħra aktar ħoxna.  U l-preżenza ta' viġilanti u qassis iddedikat ma jgħinx . . . U dan biex ma nsemmux dak l-imgħarraq kelb . . . 



What the Papers said:

Unifaun rakes in the laughter with a farce about mistaken identity and the reluctance to be honest

When Deception Offers No Protection

Upholding the law is usually synonymous with honesty and fairness, but clearly the rules do not seem to apply when those who are meant to do the right thing feel too uncomfortable to do it. Unifaun’s production of Anthony Neilson’s farce “The Lying Kind”, translated into Maltese by Simone Spiteri, looks into the hilarious misunderstanding that arises when a single moment of hesitation allows a white lie to fester and turn into a huge miscommunication and cover up story.

Police officers Blunt (Sander Agius) and Gobbel (Daniel Chircop) are finding it very hard to tell an old couple that their daughter has died in a traffic accident on her way home for Christmas. Their dithering leads to a rather unpleasant encounter with chavvy mum and vigilante paedophile-catcher, Gronya (Magda van Kuilenburg) – a formidable character who does not trust the police and scares them far more than the possibility of ruining the old couple’s Christmas. When they finally decide to ring the doorbell, Garson Connor (Marylu Coppini) answers the door and greets them with despair saying that “her darling has died” – astonished by what they hear and relieved by the fact that they don’t actually need to say anything, the two are ushered in and meet her husband, Balthazar (Michael Tabone). Much to their horror, they later realised that the occasionally senile Garson was not referring to her daughter and the madness of trying to rectify the error begins in earnest. Enter Snits as Dun Shandy, the new priest calling in to give his condolences and offer help, and the rather grumpy, inarticulate teenager Carol (Julie Pomorski), looking for her dog and the comedy evolves into mayhem and slapstick.

Director Chris Gatt had a good script to work with although some of the verbal sparring and less physical gags required a particularly English frame of mind to be enjoyed fully. The play’s themes are interestingly dark – churning up the concept of death and loss, the fear of paedophilia lurking in our midst, and the poignancy of old age. However, it is the hilarity of the piece which comes to the fore thanks to the very strong characterisation of the cast, as well as their excellent comic timing. Romualdo Moretti’s set design – with a clever revolving stage, facilitated the classic elements of action comedy and shifted the focus firmly on the actor’s antics.

Agius as the rather bossy Blunt and Chircop as the bumbling Gobbel, who doesn’t know when to stop talking, have been a good comic duo for a long time and this is reflected in their dynamic. The aggressive and slightly unnerving behaviour of van Kuilenburg’s Gronya was incredibly funny as she threatened the two policemen, but also reflected her personal tragedy as a victim of abuse – blinded as she is to what is closer to home than she ever dares to imagine. Michael Tabone’s rational and sweet-natured Balthazar is the only truly sane person in the house, dealing with his wife’s dementia and the grudge she holds against him, and this portrayal was typical of Tabone’s understated yet incisive comic style. It was a pleasure to see Marylu Coppini acting in Maltese, bringing her brand of wit to a batty old lady, making her character irritating and endearing in equal measures.

If you’re after some light-hearted weekend entertainment, “Il-Giddieb Ghomru Qasir” is certainly one to watch, as I’m sure its English version will be too.

 -Andre Delicata, The Times of Malta, 13/10/16


 

 Guaranteed Belly Laughs

Humans Lie! Let’s face it – most of us have somehow or another catapulted ourselves into a sufficiently awkward situation where telling the truth would not only create chaos, disaster and despair, but could also potentially cause a relationship – new, old, platonic or romantic - to crumble right in front of our eyes…or so we’ve come to believe. Despite our best efforts, however, the truth always finds a way out. What better way to experience such a truth than by sitting back and relaxing whilst humoring one of human nature’s most practiced survival mechanisms through Anthony Nielson’s farce, The Lying Kind or Il-Giddieb Ghomru Qasir, as it was called in Maltese.

 

Currently running at Sir Temi Zammit Hall, Unifaun Theatre’s production of The Lying Kind by Anthony Nielson –  translated by skilled author Simone Spiteri to Il-Giddieb Ghomru Qasir – is a hilarious night out with guaranteed belly laughs. The show starts off by introducing us to our protagonists; two inept police constables known as Blunt and Gobbel (Sander Agius and Daniel Chircop) who are tasked with informing an elderly couple – Garson and Balthazar (Marylu Coppini and Michael Tabone)- about the death of their daughter, Carol, on Christmas Eve.

 

The two policemen are then seen nervously trying to pluck up the courage to ring the couple’s doorbell, when they are suddenly and rudely interrupted by Gronya (Magda Van Kuilenburg), the official representative of ĠKPŻ ie Ġenituri Kontra Pedofili Żibel (Parents Against Paedophile Scum) and town bully.  She bombards them with questions about why they’re there (presuming they know something about a paedophile who happens to be at large), going so far as to grab their most sensitive parts in her quest for answers.

 

When the policemen finally make their way inside Garson and Balthazar’s house, an endless chain of events sparks off, involving an apparently transvestite vicar (Snits), a spoilt and arrogant teenager (Julie Pomorski) and an innocent Chihuahua, all a consequence of the intricate web of lies that has been spun by the protagonists.

The internal themes employed by Nielson add to the hilarity, describing modern society’s way of life with goosebump-inducing insight.

 

The set itself was a wonder to behold, captivating the audience as soon as the curtain opened to reveal Romauldo Moretti’s beautifully designed suburban British home.  This initial moment of awe was immediately succeeded by Agius and Chircop’s animated and comical deliveries. The pair bounced off each other extremely well; their chemistry is a force to be reckoned with. As the stage spun around to reveal the shabby living room of Garson and Balthazar and its corresponding catastrophic events, a wave of non-stop laughter resounded throughout the University Hall, thanks to veteran actors Coppini and Tabone, who dominated the stage with each side-splitting exchange.

 

As the audience members sat back to regain their breath, comedy actor Snits entered as Dun Shandy, who entertained with his acrobatic skills along with delivering a flabbergasting striptease performance during a black-out he endured due to being hit on the head by a baton…several times, might I add.

 

I utterly enjoyed the mother-daughter duo performed by Magda Van Kuilenburg and Julie Pomorski. Magda’s intentions were crystal clear from the start, as was made evident by her energetic and bold interpretation of Gronya. Joined by Pomorski’s vibrant yet bratty Carol (yes, there’s two Carols in this rollicking tale), the two were priceless.

 

This fast-paced energetic farce was excellently delivered to great effect, undisputedly due to the experienced direction of Chris Gatt, whose cast members eminently demonstrated strong vocal and physical work. I was enchanted by the entire cast’s quasiperfect comic timing.

 

All in all, an entertaining night that left me thinking Anatole France was spot-on when he said: “Without lies humanity would perish of despair and boredom”.

 

If you missed Il-Giddieb Ghomru Qasir, be sure to attend one of the final performances between October 14th and 16th; Spiteri’s proficient use of the Maltese language allows the audience to follow Nielson’s slapstick folly with accuracy.  However, for those of you who’d rather watch the play in the language it was intended, you can catch The Lying Kind on October 21st, 22nd and 23rd

 -Larissa Bonaci, Escape, 16/10/16

 

 

 

 

Image Gallery

photos by Jacob Sammut