Elephant Man, for everything theatre

“Joseph Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man or John Merrick, is a hot topic in the theatre, what with Bradley Cooper’s imminent transfer to the West End in this title role. Despite this news, the current, smaller scale production at the Jack Studio Theatre in South London is certainly worth seeing… In his original adaptation, writer and director Steve Green confronts audiences with the uncomfortable social history of ownership, entrapment and public appearance in the Victorian era.

“Actor Daniel Christostomou plays Merrick as a sensitive, articulate young man caged by his physical deformities and Victorian attitudes. Rather than prosthetics or make up, costume designer Anastasia Sarajeva has created an evocative, confrontational structure of wire, chain link and mesh for Chrisostomou. Naked underneath, we see both the actor’s and Merrick’s silhouette…

“Despite Chrisostomou’s incredible performance and the unique approach to Merrick’s experience, the script falls short. The writing is choppy, with large gaps in time and no explanation of what events were excluded. Individual scenes are well-crafted, but not pieced together to form a particularly effective whole, and I found myself needing to read up on Merrick after the fact to clarify plot holes. There are two projected sequences, but they seem arbitrary and would not have been missed if excluded.

“Regardless of the confusing and unpolished script, the characters and the performances still make this a production worth catching…”

Intention: ☆☆☆☆

Outcome: ☆☆☆

Star Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2

Read the entire review on everything theatre: http://everything-theatre.co.uk/2015/02/elephant-man-jack-studio-theatre-review.html

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