The Tricycle (Barons Court Theatre)

The Barons Court Theatre, hidden in the cellar of the Curtains Up pub, is a small-scale venue which has put on a range of interesting work, but this was my first visit.

Theatre company Gobo Teatro formed in 2017 and their aim is to stage the work of Spanish playwrights other than Lorca. The Tricycle, by Fernando Arrabal, is an Absurdist classic of the 1950s.

Four characters of the street interact during a 75 minute show. An old man plays a flute. A woman with dirt on her face and knees carries a doll. A young man sleeps. And the tricycle driver wonders how he will pay the hire for his vehicle.

The company of The Tricycle
The company of The Tricycle

Their days are spent hungry, trying to trick each other, pondering whether it is best to live or die. What could be a depressing premise concerning suicide and murder is light and funny in Arrabal’s play, which treats everything as a joke and a game, so much so that the shocking ending gives the sudience pause.

The four roles are performed well – Tom Patrick Coley (Apal) and Ryan Yengo (Climando) are recent graduates, Lakshmi Khabrani (Mita) has worked on Spanish television, and Jerry Ezekiel (Old Man) is a musician.

Together, under the direction of Gobo Teatro’s artistic director Jesús Chavero, they effortlessly inhabit this shadowy world of words, freedom and consequences. When an opportunity to make money presents itself, the act proposed is horrific but brushed aside in the climate of homelessness and desperate poverty.

The company of The Tricycle
The company of The Tricycle

With a bench, a box, some spray paint, and petals, a scene of devastation is comprehensively depicted, with holes in clothing and missing shoes speaking of the plight of those who have nothing. In theit own little world, outsiders are either not seen or immediately viewed as a threat.

Unsavoury aspects of those on the street are not set aside – the Old Man seeks to stroke the hair of the children who ride the tricycle, while Mina seems to relish taunting men who approach her. Apal and Climando appear lost from the start, Apal cocooned in his blanket, Climando revels in his unhappiness.

The Tricycle is a fine example of the post-Beckett Theatre of the Absurd, and it utilises the space well, with the actors playing Mina and Old Man engaging with the audience at key points.

I enjoyed this play, which has had infrequent revivals in recent years. If you are in West London you may wish to drop in – the show runs until 2 February.

More about Gobo Teatro can be found at their website. Photos courtesy of Jesús Chavero.

LouReviews received a complimentary ticket to see The Tricycle.