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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Reservoir runs dry
Reservoir Dogs cast
Looking the part but accents leave a lot to be desired
By BBC News Online's Darren Waters in Edinburgh

Quentin Tarantino's cult classic Reservoir Dogs has always seemed a prime candidate for a stage transfer because there was a very theatrical quality about much of the film.

The movie revolves around a few static locations and the key moment of the film, a bank heist which goes horribly wrong, is never seen and only alluded to by the characters.

The dialogue in the film, including several monologues, are tightly written and it would not appear to be too difficult a job to transfer.

But somewhere, somehow, 2 Way Mirror Productions' stage version goes horribly wrong.

Jarring problem

The initial, jarring problem is that the American accents of at least half of the seven-strong cast are not up to standard. Suspension of disbelief is hard to invoke when characters drift between a New Jersey and English accent in the space of a few syllables.

Also, several of the cast seem to be doing impressions of the original movie actors performing the roles rather than acting the roles themselves.

The actors copy the same tone, cadence and inflection of the original lines as they were spoken in the film and Robert Cohen seems to be under the impression that a passable imitation of Steve Buscemi as Mr Pink will suffice.

But the mimicry only reinforces the comparisons between the film and play rather than letting the stage production breathe in its own right.

The famous strutting opening sequence of the seven bank robbers is also copied and while it was a great iconic scene for the film, on the stage it looks more like the prelude to a striptease than the invocation of cool.

Slavish copy

The character of Mr Blue, who admittedly said very little, is dropped from the stage version altogether which is odd when it is such a slavish copy of the original.

The play only becomes interesting as the action gets bloodier and more violent - the shoot-out after the heist is well executed and the noise and movement in the play finally grabs the audience.

But just as things begin to get going, along comes a lull in proceedings - as the actors don bloodied clothing for the next scene - which slows everything down again.

Reservoir Dogs the film succeeded because the larger than life characters spoke dialogue which seemed the very epitome of cool inside a narrative that teased and intrigued the audience.

But Reservoir Dogs the stage play would appear to be the world's first instance of theatrical karaoke.

Reservoir Dogs (A Tribute) is on at the Komedia Roman Legion until 26 August.

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