Theater , Drama
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Photograph: Pavel Antonov
Photograph: Pavel Antonov
Photograph: Pavel Antonov

Analog.Ue. St. Ann’s Warehouse (see Off Broadway). Written and performed by Daniel Kitson. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission.

Analog.Ue: in brief

After two hit shows at St. Ann's in the past two years, the extraordinary British storyteller and stand-up comedian Daniel Kitson returns to try for a hat trick. His latest monologue features plenty of outmoded technology.

Analog.Ue: theater review by Helen Shaw

British storyteller Daniel Kitson has been here before, but sadly (if appropriately for a monologuist playing with past and future), those exquisite earlier visits hamper the current one. Perhaps if we didn’t know how funny and transparent Kitson can be, Analog.Ue’s form—tape players running in sequence, triggered by him—wouldn’t strike us as so doggedly perverse.

It does make for a poignant, if familiar, mise en scène: 23 reel-to-reel behemoths lurking in umber dimness. Silent Kitson tends to their electronic needs (and takes tea breaks), but though a prologue warns of his task’s complexities, nothing actually feels precarious.

As with his It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later, the soloist’s stories eventually intersect. Here, an old man’s 1977 project to record his life story collides with a modern woman’s obsessive quest. Thematically, the Kitson’s Last Tape conceit makes sense, but the cost of turning performance into installation is high. Denied his living warmth, both his writerly skill at detail and the tragic twist grows programmatic, manipulative, even (and this is strange to say of him) chilly.—Theater review by Helen Shaw

THE BOTTOM LINE A personable storyteller hides behind gadgets.

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