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Albany Theatre review: AAAAA

AAAAA, Locked on Stage, Albany Theatre, Coventry, May 30 one night only.

By Barbara Goulden

Here's to the valiant Albany Theatre in Coventry for simply refusing to lie down and die in the face of not only a deadly virus but several other financial constraints.

With the help of a trusty band of permanent staff backed by a group of volunteers, this small theatre - much loved by the Strictly Come Dancing professionals - has opened again to become what may well become a major testing ground for London fringe theatre

companies.

Not that fringe theatre is entirely me.

The mysteriously titled AAAAA, ahead of its London premiere, begins with disturbingly relentless throbbing background noise and odd wires danging on to the stage. What is going on?

At first I was torn between a man in a padded cell and some sort of coma. But then I realised he's trapped in some nether world from which his random thoughts about following his grandfather into the woods, seeing celestial objects, running away to Great Yarmouth - why Norfolk for heaven's sake? - not to mention the jungle and skiing holidays, all rush into his frustrated confusion.

The London-based Proforca Theatre Company chose The Albany to try out this challenging new piece which is just one hour long.

The lone male actor - who will change every night when the piece takes to the road - grabs the audience into his increasingly desperate attempts to make sense of his closed-in world. I can reveal, he isn't mad.

But to find out more you'll have to see this one for yourself - ideally with a strong drink at hand.

For all that, AAAAA was superbly performed by Dainel Rainford (pictured above) after being written in collaboration by David Brady, Albert Cooke, Gabrielle Nellis-Pain and Kim Scope.

It's drama Jim, but not as I know it.

But three cheers to The Albany for promoting experimental live theatre. May it live long and prosper.

https://www.albanytheatre.co.uk/