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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking

Theatre: Buried Child

I saw Buried Child at the National Theatre in 2004 and thought it was hilarious. The version I saw on Friday at Upstairs at the Gatehouse turned out to be less so. It probably did not help making a mad dash from south London to be there and finding severe delays impacting my journey, but I have been to the Gatehouse enough times to not be too bothered by that, particularly when the performances are good.

This is a play that challenges the American dream, highlights the poverty of rural life in America and looks at the breakdown of family values. These topics have been in plenty of plays, but here they are presented in a brutally honest way that alternates between the real and surreal. You often need to read between the lines to understand what is going on.

In the second act there is a line about persistence, fortitude and determination which is what the family were about. Unfortunately these are also requirements in this production for the audience as the timing, pacing and delivery was way off. This made the characters unsympathetic and (even worse for a Friday night)... unfunny.

Still there was a lot to admire in this ambitious production. This included a great set design by Martin Thomas and lighting by Howard Hudson, which made it one of the better looking fringe productions I have seen in some time. There was so much corn and carrots on stage at one point I had an overwhelming urge for a vegetable side dish. A pity the pub downstairs is just a bog standard Wetherspoons as Highgate could do with a gastro-pub. It runs until 3 April.

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