Review: Beating Berlusconi, Nottingham Playhouse, by Alan Geary
This one-hander is essentially the same as it was the year before last at the Lakeside. But it's been cut, though at two and a quarter hours it's still too long for a one-man show. It's also been up-dated in the light of the recent Hillsborough revelations.
On a sparsely-furnished stage Paul Duckworth performs a play about Kenny, a Liverpool fan at his team's European Cup victory over A C Milan in 2005. Kenny inadvertently finds himself in the VIP box with the then Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.
Beating Berlusconi is a satisfying combination of writing, acting, and back projection and sound effects. Writer John Graham Davies, director Matt Rutter and actor Paul Duckworth have done admirable jobs.
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Duckworth, as Kenny and every other character, with his mobile face and deployment of voice, mime and gesticulation, delivers a fine performance. Via any number of tangential digressions, he takes us up to his encounter with Berlusconi. In between he harks back to a multitude of characters and incidents from the 1980s and 90s. It's a social history of Liverpool working-class life.
This entertains and informs, certainly. But people might want to steer clear of Kenny's assumptions and plain narrow-mindedness.
He has a pathological hatred of Thatcher; for him all Conservatives are "scum". He also seems to have it in for people with slightly exotic names, foreign languages – people don't speak them, they "jabber" them – and football clubs other than his own (especially Manchester United).
And he's also at times distressingly over-sentimental.
Beating Berlusconi is at the Playhouse till Saturday, 13th October.