Left - Keiran King
There is so much left unexplained in Hotel Pedro, playing at La Mama Theatre as part of the Comedy Festival. This offering from writer and director Keiran King deliberately trades in the ambiguous, but I fear that his play does not leave us with very much to appreciate by its incomprehensible end.
The dark and stormy night tale begins in the bar/lobby of a hotel that looks like they rent rooms by the hour. A man with a Nick Cave-like mustache worms his way onto the couch and is discovered by a grouchy inn keeper up to get a drink in his underwear. Convinced that this stranger is his estranged son returning home, the older man welcomes him in and when his wife returns all hell breaks loose. Our mustachioed protagonist finds himself drugged and left for dead, while the titular Pedro finally makes his way down the stairs to share a little of his frat boy wisdom.
Just when one narrative becomes established the play veers in another direction to become drunkenly tangential. While I can appreciate the raw quality of a Comedy Festival performance, Hotel Pedro trades comprehension for a bevy of one-liners and ultimately doesn’t add up.
The committed actors try their best to be funny in their quirky roles, but what could have been a humorous sketch scene about mistaken identity is ultimately drawn out far past its punch line. As more and more ‘red herrings’ emerge – among them a transvestite and a crude hand puppet – Hotel Pedro strays into oblivion. I wonder what the original intention of this piece was, and where along the way that story got lost.
La Mama presents a Wee Arthur production
Venue: La Mama | 205 Faraday St, Carlton
Dates: 31 March - 11 April, 2010
Times: Wed, Fri & Sun 6.30pm, Thu & Sat 8.30pm
Duration: 75 minutes
Tickets: Full $25, Concession $12
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 | Venue Bookings 03 9347 6142 | lamama.com.au