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Around Town: Is Anything Broken?

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[AROUND TOWN] Part of the Camden Fringe Theatre Festival, this comedy depicts one hour in the life of a very busy architect…

Summary: Patrick is an ambitious architect awaiting his flight to Uzbekistan where he is to present his vision for HIS $200m ‘Palace of Eternal Freedom’.

In the departure lounge he receives a call informing him that his son has been injured in an accident. Although he could leave the presentation in the hands of his deputy in order to rush to the hospital, Patrick is adamant that he present the project to the clients himself, which forces him to make a series of frenzied phone calls to his wife, his nanny, her boyfriend and others so that he can take the flight to Tashkent.

Is Anything Broken? depicts the intensity of balancing high pressure jobs with obligations to those around us. This ultimately means falling short, summed up when Patrick says: ‘Whatever I do, someone has to get let down. The only skill is guessing who I can afford to disappoint at any given moment.’

Highlights: The play brought home how much bureaucracy has impacted on the profession, and Patrick’s comment: ‘Most of what we do has nothing to do with architecture’ will ring true for many. One of the few props in this low-key production that hinted at Patrick’s profession was a copy of the AJ’s sister publication Architectural Review which he flicks through at the beginning.

Low points: A one-act play that is over within an hour, Is Anything Broken? may not provide the depth of character development some people are after. Also, the play relies heavily on dialogue, revealing its origins as a radio piece.

Playwright’s comment: ‘Pressure to succeed at work has never been greater, family expectations are high, and our lives have become increasingly complex, all facilitated by technology making us constantly available. So I thought it would be fun to set it all on a collision course and watch it collapse.’ (Dan Davies)

Final word: Captured the frenzied nature of high pressure professions. We can imagine many an architect nodding wearily with recognition.


Is Anything Broken?
Tristan Bates Theatre
30 July-4 August 2012, Mon-Wed 9pm, Thu-Sat 7.30pm, Sat matinee 3.30pm
Tickets: £8

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