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A CurtainUp London Review
Wet Weather Cover
A camp and surly Spanish dresser called Pepe (Pepe Balderrama), with no command of English, tries to persuade Brad to change his Tudor shirt. Pepe wants to turn the white shirt into a grey one for the next scene in this under-financed film about Cortes and the conquistadores. Despite being an American (with presumably Spanish as a second language), Brad refuses to comply with the insistent requests of Pepe although his gestures convey what Pepe wants, and the exchange gets heated. I couldn't work out who was laughing more in the audience, those with brilliant Spanish, those with a smattering of Spanish or those without any. I really enjoyed Pepe wearing frayed shorts in his attempts to dress Bradley by tucking in Brad's shirt and Brad's wrist slapping defence of his anatomy!
Enter another actor, dressed in a tonsure wig, under a woman's folding rain hat that ties under the chin. This is Steve Furst as Stuart, an English bit actor not entitled to his own trailer but hanging out in Brad's, which is fine until the two men start to quarrel and the argument takes a territorial turn. As Stuart is reading a book about the murder of Kit Marlowe, the two thespians argue the toss as to whether Shakespeare was written by Marlowe and which was the greater playwright. From their quick fire argument, they switch to a speech from the Bard's Richard II in skilful unison.
Their rivalry takes in the differences in acting styles between the classically trained English actor and the method acting American. As they get drunk the arguments get more personal with alcoholic Stuart's attack on America and all things American, "Half the world hate your guts, " he says. Bradley reminds us that "Shakespeare's just about the only thing your country has got left" Brad will rehearse his scene including the bit where he gallops on a horse allowing for the confines of the caravan and they will re-work the fight scene between their characters in the movie, Stuart's cleric and Brad's deputy to Cortes, Gonzalo de Sandoval.
Oliver Cotton has obviously put to good use the film actor's years spent hanging around on set waiting for perfect conditions to film a costume drama and maybe was also inspired by Terry Gilliam's film about the ill-fated project which was recorded in Lost in La Mancha. After such a hilarious first hour, it is hard to tie an ending together which can live up to what has gone before, but Wet Weather Cover should encourage both Oliver Cotton to write some more plays and Kate Fahy to direct again.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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