Breaking The Fourth Wall

Derailed, Ovalhouse – Review

Mercè Ribot and Patricia Rodríguez

The UK has fallen ‘out of love’ with Europe. That is if you 100% believe the result of the referendum. One of the main concerns about Brexit is the fate of Europeans living in Britain and their future. If you were originally from mainland Europe and suddenly found that you were not ‘wanted’, that you had to leave… how would you respond? How would you feel?

These very pertinent questions are answered by Patricia Rodríguez and Mercè Ribot in ther show Derailed. An amalgam of improvisation, personal anecdotes and music, it fuses these disparate elements to create a wholly original show.

Having spent the last 12 years ‘making theatre’ in Britain, Little Soldier Productions’ ‘swan song’ doesn’t intend to go out with a whimper, but with a bang. Some of the songs harness the spirit and energy of punk, though others are less intense and quite humorous.

All photos © Ben MacIntosh

So who is to blame for this state of affairs? The goverment? Maverick politicians? Immigrants? Population? A protest march regarding cuts to the NHS sparks a conversation between an irate passer-by and Patricia, who is left dumbstruck by the assertion that she should sort out the problems ‘in her own country’.

It’s evident that for Patricia the comment still smarts, but when faced with the hypothetical proposition that she could address her accuser again, she finds it hard to articulate a convincing response that it is irrefutable in its logic, as well conveying how she truly feels. Instead, her anger explodes (which is completely understandable) but for those whose hearts are closed, they wouldn’t be swayed by this display of emotion, especially in the ‘dispassionate’ world of British politics…

So what are we, the British public, still angry about? The audience wrote down various things on pieces of paper, about what made them annoyed. Some were things of a serious nature, while others submitted ‘silly’ things like weak tea or Yorkshire tea. In the end, ‘Yorkshire tea’ was selected as the subject for an iPetition. (Suffice to say over the course of the evening, nobody else online took it seriously either.) In some ways, the response of the audience reflected the nation in recent times: “Oh $#!+! That’s what we’re voting for? If I’d known I would have voted differently…”

The show, however, isn’t all doom and gloom, as Patricia gets to chat to her father over Skype, plus cava and gazpacho are there for the audience to sample. Comedian Dan Lees helps sustain the levels of levity with Anglo-Spanish banter and there is a surreal ‘stand-off’ between ‘money/capitalism’ and the Dalai Lama.

Mercè Ribot and Dan Lees

As someone who has friends from Europe in the same tenuous position, I found the show at times moving and bittersweet – an event that was as much a celebration as an act of rememberance. Playing devil’s advocate, during the ‘political’ segments, there is scope for more development and speculation regarding the devolving ‘insularity’ in Europe. While xenophobia could be partly attributed to the Brexit result, how do we explain Catalonia’s stance and the recent Spanish referendum? Is either side ‘wrong’..?

What Derailed lacks in ‘structure’, it makes up in abundance with passion and heart. Ladies, we will miss you…

© Michael Davis 2018

Derailed runs at Ovalhouse until 3rd March.