Robert Tanitch reviews I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep at Gate Theatre, London W11
A middle-aged, middle-class Madrid man, going through a mid-life miserable crisis, decides to blow his savings on drugs, booze and sex and then break into the Prado. His young children, aged 11 and 6, quite rightly, would much prefer to go to Disneyland.
He intends to spend the night in the galleries which house Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings. These 14 nightmarishly hideous paintings were created between 1819 and 1823 when Goya was in his 70’s. They depict human degradation, brutality and bestiality.
It’s a long time since I have seen something quite as bad as this one-man show. Rodrigo Garcia’s monologue, a very short and acerbic rant against a consumer society, has been stretched to 50 minutes, and is played out in a white-tiled lavatorial-looking space.
The actor Steffan Rhodri is joined by two cute Gloucestershire black spot piglets. This means he is constantly upstaged by the grunting, tail-wagging pigs which wander the stage and behave perfectly, only squealing (hopefully with delight) when Rhodri picks them up.
The pigs get no credit in the programme and no curtain-call which seems very unfair; they were easily the thing the young audience (mainly American college students) enjoyed most.