When I was on the South Bank yesterday I noticed a Charlie Chaplin looking rather forlorn. One of those performers who stand on a raised box and punctuate keeping deathly still with the odd theatrical gesture. It was drizzeling. Business was slow. This Chaplin was peeved.
Later, after the concert I’d attended, I was walking back the same way and found myself behind the Chaplin who was consulting his mobile phone as he went along the river promenade. I then heard him say sternly to a Frankenstein figure “All right. That’s it!” The Frankenstein, himself stood on a raised box and being observed, perhaps even tipped, by a couple of tourists, glared back, annoyed as only a Frankenstein’s monster can be. Maybe he had stolen Chaplin’s pitch.
As I passed them I looked back. The two were staring each other out and the embarrassed tourists were also staring, confused and disorientated, their trip to the South Bank soured.
It occurs to me now: was this confrontation between two such unlikely protagonists part of the show? Frankenstein versus Chaplin. Like the old horror films where Abbot and Costello met Frankenstein or the Wolfman. If so, the public will need to be educated in the genre before it can work.