Sometimes you write about story. Sometimes you write about character. Sometimes you have to write about the fish.
Last Call is a live performance of a Belgian comic book. The original panels are presented to us on a large screen; Sara Vertonghen reads all the parts and Joris Caluwaerts provides excellent mood music.
So far, so good.
The story is of a teenage runaway alone in the big city. She crashes parties, meets strange men and sleeps in a stranger’s apartment when he’s not there.
The rendering of the story is excellent. The pictures are beautiful, the music superb, and the reading of it very adept.
The problem is with the story. Firstly, our unnamed heroine is a bit of an overdog (you know what I mean). She comes from a seemingly well-to-do family. Despite getting her purse stolen early on in the story, she still has money to spend on going to bars and eating late-night falafel. She steals a strange older man’s keys and sleeps on his floor when he’s out of town. She never expresses any emotion about running away, any of the scrapes she gets into, or any remorse or worry about the things she’s doing.
Our unnamed heroine seems to be something of a sociopath – making her and her story very hard to engage with. Slick and pretty though the production is, this makes the show very difficult to enjoy.
It has no heart because our heroine has no heart.
Also, the fish:
At the start of the show there was a clownfish swimming in a bowl on the table with the props. At some point during the show the fish stopped swimming and started…floating.
Was this an expression of the protagonists sociopathic tendencies?
On reflection, I presume it was an accident unique to the evening I saw the show – but sadly, it became the only part we were all keen to talk about on leaving the theatre.