Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | Why That and Not This? at the Hope Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | Why That and Not This? at the Hope Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | Why That and Not This? at the Hope Theatre
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30 Oct REVIEW: Why That and Not This? at the Hope Theatre

Why that and not this? It’s one heck of a question, a question with infinite interpretations and infinite answers. You could ask me “why that and not this” at 9am on a Monday and I’d say something entirely different to whatever I’d come out with at 11am the same day…a world apart to the response at 11pm the following Friday…and if you looked in a different direction whilst you were speaking, you’d probably get a whole different answer…and that’s just from me.

Presented by Spit ’N’ Polish, Why That and Not This? is an hour-long collection of new theatrical writing, that seeks to pose, rather than answer this question. Comprising six scenes that cover a multitude of topics, from what if you swkarked like a chicken in a job interview? to what if you told people you wear your wife’s tights? via, what would a member of God’s Genesis team have to say about the quality of the project management? it ticks the funny, ridiculous and poignant boxes in a surprisingly eloquent way.

With scarcely any props or scenery required, the vignettes are performed convincingly by writer-performers Alex Arisen, JP Conway and Chris Szuka, Conway most memorable for his borderline-sociopathic businessman clucking around, scratching the floor and flapping his arms. But his performance itself is elevated by the character, someone constructed to seem so ordinary at first that you never see the curveball coming. Yet what’s perhaps most surprising about the whole show is the ridiculousness that Spit ‘N’ Polish find in the mundane, in mocking the ordinary through astute parodies of real-life situations, even before any ludicrousness commences.

Incomparable to other, more orthodox, shows, it’s not one with a storyline or a particularly chronological “golden thread.” But even as an amalgamation of very separate scenarios, Why That and Not This? could do with something a little more tangible than just the title to bring each of the seemingly disparate pieces together; it’s a fascinating concept to ask why we do the things we do, so I’d love to see those questions really drawn to the fore. In a similar vein, whilst each scene is intelligent and bears merit in its own right, they seem inconsistent when it comes to how relevant each is to the title, most apparently with my personal favourite, a wickedly funny “over the water cooler” type scene set in Heaven, which is laugh out loud funny, but seems, at most, to skirt around the edges of the question at hand.

Does it really matter that Spit ‘N’ Polish use scenes that don’t obviously fit neatly into a clearly-defined box? Almost certainly not, especially when what’s included makes such good watching. Entertaining and engaging, Why That and Not This? is a hilariously quirky hour of gently thought-provoking theatre.

For tickets and information:
Venue: The Hope Theatre
Dates: 25th October – 26th October

Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
Okay, fine, but how many stars do you give it? Click here