|Not Quite Drama, Not Quite Comedy|
Good Morning Alamo at The Tabard is still worth seeing
The name of the Alamo is forever burnt into our collective cultural memory. The film alone, staring John Wayne, has enshrined the heroic sacrifice of the defenders of the little Spanish mission on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas. And just like the Texans decision to stay and defend the un-defendable little fort in 1836, this world premiere at the Tabard is a little strange.
It looks at both the Mexican and Texan sides of the conflict. Were the Texans brave Americans fighting for freedom against oppressive Mexicans? Or were they in fact a large number of illegal immigrants who decided to seize the Mexican state of Texas for themselves.
The production loosely follows the story of the Alamo from both sides. Zoe Teverson plays English war painter Charlotte Vernon who, with her German soldier lover, Andreas Gerber, (Stephen Cavanagh) find themselves fighting for Mexico. For the Texans, hapless cockney cobbler and wannabe rich American Harry Birchfield (Steven Clarke) meets George Kimball, (Richard Emerson) and the sweet Bridget Rose (Riona O'Connor) and ends up looking after the ancient cannon that started the revolution when it was stolen by a Mexican cavalry detachment six months earlier.
Francisco Castaneda (James Palmer) is a cruel and ambitious Mexican officer who nearly, but doesn't quite, kill Harry after Harry escapes from the Alamo with the help of Charlotte. I think. Because the narrative is fairly slight and perhaps confused by writer and director Mark Giesser's desire to milk the metaphor whenever possible. But he’s created some strong and quirky characters and we have a pantomime scene, a mariachi band and soldiers worrying about the Disney copyright of the song 'Davy Crocket'. The Mexican massacre of the Texan prisoners becomes a film director talking to extras and we examine the role of immigrants in all times and at all times.
In spite of a frantic pace the action sometimes lags and there are moments when Giesser's obviously talented writing perhaps needs another director's eye to maintain focus and consistency. Much of the production is soliloquy which can sometimes be ponderous. It’s not quite drama, not quite comedy, not quite review and not quite absurd. But the ensemble cast are very strong and although the whole is a little odd, it's an oddity well worth seeing.
Good Morning, Alamo!
Running Time: 2hrs 30 mins