Reviewed – 16th November 2018
“The Soho Theatre is a place to experiment. Cuckoo tried, it didn’t fail but it didn’t completely succeed”
The Soho Theatre is a hotbed for new comedy and drama. It is a testing ground for the weird and wonderful to see if it sinks or swims in the ocean of live entertainment. Currently on offer in the upstairs space is ‘Cuckoo’. Set in a small Irish village, we follow its adolescent inhabitants, as some struggle through the opportunity of leaving home, while others struggle through not being able to leave at all. Cuckoo is a story of gender, small town thinking, friendship and fried chicken.
The story written by Lisa Carroll follows the mute gender non-conforming Pingu (Elise Heaven), the loud mouth but often humorous Iona (Caitriona Ennis) and the gang of Pockets (Colin Campbell), Trix (Peter Newington) and Toller (Sade Malone).
Cuckoo itself is interesting exploring something that most people have dealt with, leaving home and is it worth it? It’s structured well and packs a lot of humour, especially into tiny Iona’s character. Despite this, the story seems to drag. The running time of an hour and fifty minutes could be cut by at least half an hour to tighten everything up. By the end, it felt sloppy and almost irrelevant because of this overly long runtime.
What is evident though, is that the performances are solid and that can partially be attributed to Debbie Hannan’s adept direction. However, Caitriona Ennis as Iona is the stand out performer. Her comedic timing is really what saves the show and makes the full running time a little easier to cope with.
The Soho Theatre is a place to experiment. Cuckoo tried, it didn’t fail but it didn’t completely succeed. This show needs a bit of work, but with changes, it could hugely entertaining.
Reviewed by Shaun Dicks
Photography by David Gill
Soho Theatre until 8th December
Previously reviewed at this venue: