Off with Lost Banditos to Bury St.Edmonds for a pre-Edinburgh try out of Destination GB at West Suffolk College. It's the first time I've seen the show (which has gone through several incarnations) and I really enjoyed it.
The premise is that a group of stupid border guards from the UK, led by a sadistic, Daily Mail reading boss decide to try and up their quotas for catching illegal immigrants by smuggling themselves into Dover on board a lorry. Whether this process will help them to understand the mindset of the immigrants, or whether they intend to arrest themselves, isn't really clear - but things so quickly become preposterous, that it doesn't really matter. On the way across the channel they imagine what dreams and visions of England must accompany genuine asylum seekers on the, at times, treacherous journey.
The set up gives the group ample scope to play and the actors, who've been working as an ensemble for over a year now, relish the chance to exploit nuances, mistakes and moments of mayhem. At times the group over indulge in this game and, brilliant though they can be, it comes at the risk of leaving the audience and the story behind but eventually the narrative is hunted down again and on we go.
Kieran is cracking as the boss - but I sensed at the end he felt he hadn't quite found the key to his final monologue where he needs to switch from being playfully dumb to really baring his vitriolic fangs. It's here, in the last moments of the piece, that the English mask of civility slips and we're left with a ranting fascist, surprising not just the audience but the rest of the cast, who reappear with a cup of post-show tea to listen spellbound. The intention is there and if he can allow himself to become monstrous the whole piece will carry real political weight. It's a hidden flick knife only revealed at the end and all the more dangerous because we've been disarmed through early laughter.
Back on campus this evening Kat, Lucy and Bex had organised a storytelling evening borrowing the talents of second years Jenny, Frank and Sam to raise some money in support of their Drama in the Community Leicester project. It was a well executed and highly enjoyable evening, mixing poignant personal testimony with stories of high adventure and mishap, all told in the ambient atmosphere of the Waldegrave drawing room. Impressive attendance from over a hundred students. It just shows how effective keeping things simple can be.