Friday, 19 November 2010

Donmar's Novocento at Trafalgar Studio 2

This is a simple show concentrating on story-telling. Mark Bonnar's trumpeter is the classic example of a third party recounting the main subject's biography. In this case his subject is the mythical - fictional - pianist Danny Boodmann TD Lemon Novecento, born, adopted and resident on an ocean liner.

The central event, a face-off between Novocento and (real) jazz legend Jelly-Roll Morton is nicely played out. I also liked the design of the minimal, close-up stage and backdrop which suggests some rusting hulk, from a distant, ghostly past rather than some perky, recognisable cruise ship. Bonnar is an entertaining raconteur, if occasionally overselling the melodrama in a script that stretches for profundities which are out of reach. Still, an hour and a half of holding the show on his own was quite a feat in itself. If I wasn't transformed I was certainly absorbed.

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