Saturday, 22 May 2010


21/5/10, National (Cottesloe)

Interesting premise. A convention of church leaders in Africa is trying (and failing) to agree a common position on homosexuality: the liberal westerners find the principal African bishop intransigent. One of the volunteers assisting at the conference goes to bed in his room with a waiter, who then tries to get the volunteer to take him back with him to the UK. Back home, the volunteer's wife is going out of her mind with longing for a baby, but her husband is reluctant on ethical grounds to consider IVF.

So a wonderful stew of hypocrisy, ethical dilemmas, real religious and political differences. The problem was partly the writing. The dialogue was excessively naturalistic (though delivered in a rather mannered fashion) which meant it was allusive and rather baffling. You found yourself confused and puzzled by what was going on. The acting and the production were problematic as well: it got very shouty much too quickly, both in the disputatious meeting of bishops and in the scene in the hotel bedroom. And then there was the heavy symbolism, especially in the third scene, between the volunteer and his wife, with a family of squirrels living in the roof (the rodent man has been called) helping to drive the childless wife potty.

We left at the interval. S and Dr T stayed and said it didn't improve.

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