6 Actors in Search of a Director

1 out of 5 stars

Six actors are holed up in a remote hotel, waiting for an exasperating director to call them before the cameras. Bit-part players sidelined in favour of the film's anonymous 'star', they whine and bicker, question their lives and their profession and what could possibly motivate them to continue to work in an industry where you're 'paid to wait' but 'act for free'.

Writer/director Steven Berkoff has returned to the same stylised world he last visited in 'Dahling You Were Marvellous', but here the laughs are thin on the ground and the satire entirely insipid. Berkoff has decades of experience in the film industry, but you wouldn't know it from watching '6 Actors'.

Stocked with well-worn anecdotes and riven with bland observations and clichés, it lacks humour, insight and originality. The characters are thin and underdeveloped, spouting platitudes at every turn, and the observational humour is cringe-worthy. An extended pop at the ubiquity of Apple products sets the bar for cutting-edge satire depressingly low. The cast suffer badly under this misdirection, with Neil Stuke coming off particularly poorly as cynic Brian.

The non-action is played out against a well-judged and attractive set by designer Nigel Hook, and though there are some strange inconsistencies in the level of naturalism the production is slick and polished. The buck stops with Berkoff, however, who must shoulder the blame for a production unworthy of his skill and reputation. At times it almost feels like self-parody, and perhaps it is, but either way the joke is firmly on the audience.

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