“…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…
“Steve McGarrick’s portrayal of Frederick Treves is warm but scientific…He genuinely cares for Merrick, but also has a sense of ownership for the man and wants to “keep him” in hospital for the sake of medical research. This is thinly veiled as concern for Merricks’ wellbeing.
“Adam Trussell’s Tom Norman keeps Merrick in a caged bed…as a freak show specimen in a Whitechapel shop front. Trussell also portrays Dr Reginald Tuckett, a deeply disturbed colleague of Treves. Trussell’s characters are very similar to each other, which unfortunately doesn’t allow him to show much range as an actor.
“Amy Sayers and Katie Turner also play a range of characters in Merrick’s life. Many of these characters are also caged, but by prejudices and attitudes that prohibit them from seeing Merrick as fully human.
“Despite Chrisostomou’s incredible performance and the unique approach to Merrick’s experience, the script falls short…
“Regardless of the confusing and unpolished script, the characters and the performances still make this a production worth catching…”