Shoot Coward!

It may be long but these three Latin American plays are full of charm and worth your time, says CHARLOTTE IVERS

Corpus Playroom gabrial cagan megan dalton shoot coward

Corpus Playroom, Tues 29th October – Sat 2nd November, 8pm, £12/10

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I really wanted to like Shoot Coward!. Admittedly, this had less to do with a charitable frame of mind, and more to do with the fact that if you are going to dedicate two and a half hours to something in Cambridge that isn’t going to get you drunk or write you an essay, it had better be really good. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed.

At £10, Shoot Coward! appears to be at the pricier end of the student theatre scene. However, it is worth remembering that for this you get not one, but three plays. The first and longest, Secret Obscenities, covers an encounter between two flashers who have, to their dismay, accidentally convened upon the same park bench. In a play which never quite seems to go where you were expecting it to, Tris Hobson and Jake Thompson as the two men (I won’t give you their names – go and see the play and you will find out why) skilfully portray their characters’ descent into despair and hysteria and back again. Secret Obscenities veers between hilarity and tragedy, as well as between the personal and the political, to great effect. If you have even the vaguest interest in intellectual history and/or like to feel smug by laughing at academic in-jokes, then it is not to be missed.

After a short interval followed Bony and Kim, the story of two robbers who rise to notoriety after a series of hold ups at fast food restaurants. Admittedly, the point of social commentary being made in this play – that we place too high a value on fame – is not exactly revolutionary. But this was more than made up for by some skilful acting by Megan Dalton and Lil Thomas as the title characters. These two bounded around the stage with a manic energy, switching skilfully between characters and keeping the audience’s attention fixed upon the action.

Finally there was Looking into the Stands, in which a bull and bullfighter converse about love and life as they fight to the death. I know. I thought it was going to be awful too. Happily, I was wrong and before long, to my embarrassment, I was getting quite emotional as the bull (Gabriel Cagan) talked of his love for Lola, his cow back home. It had been a long day, okay?

With three such different plays, it is unlikely that you will like all of them equally. However, the performance is varied enough and the plays short enough that this should not really matter. If you are looking for an evening which will make you think about an extremely broad range of themes, throwing in a few laughs along the way, then you won’t do much better this week than Shoot Coward!. Go and see it. It is well worth your precious time – and I don’t say that lightly.