Nothing Happens (Twice) is absurdly entertaining and tragically hilarious.
Acting is an absurd business. Mercè Ribot and Patricia Rodríguez know this only too well. As they battle disinterested audiences, annoying small and predictably Spanish roles and noisy audiences under intrusive flightpaths, they know it. As they chase an initially exciting, now progressively less glittering theatrical career, as they work doggedly through the legal hoops and depressing email trails of theatrical rights clearance, they know it. Steadily, infuriating, things become absurdly, maddeningly repetitive.
At this point - their darkest hour - two bright pink flamingo suits beckon the restless actors into the well-lit depths of a Stratford Shopping Centre for tourist board work. Marketing, that annoyingly steady earner, is often an elided blip in an actor’s career. But here it drops unexpectedly into centre stage. Is there truth in the absurd repetitions of the attractions (and fascinating wildlife) of Andalusia? Do the twirls and howls of repeated advertising slogans reveal some deeper truth about acting, or even existence? It seems unlikely; but as the ritual humiliations of slapstick merge into the grinding awkwardness of moderate sucess, and the endless repetitions of ambition deferred and reduced into something smaller and infinitely more annoying pile up, the sound of closing doors intensifies, deafeningly.
But friends flock together. They fight and make up. The absurd rambling disasters of late night drunken email fights swerve into shared (albeit tempered) adoration of absurdist masterpieces. Confidential emails are shared. Tempers flare and are lost. Despair arrives at the shopping centre. But sometimes failure is the best material to work with, and sometimes five minutes of furious shouting is the ultimate exploration of the absurd. The delight of the audience and the brim-full theatre put the lie somewhat to the insistent performance of failure: Little Soldier Productions may be self-deprecating, but this show needs no apology at all.