Rhesus, everything theatre

“Trinity Buoy Wharf was new to me as a venue, but certainly worth the trip. It is far from a conventional performance space…There is no obvious stage or audience space…Excellent lighting design by Pablo Fernandez-Baz gives this stark, damp basement with challenging sight lines a polished, professional feel. The set by Zahra Mansouri is minimal, but suits the space well and the audience sit amongst it, included in the world of the play…

“…There is absolutely no actor-audience boundary initially, but this changes when the play properly starts. From then on, there is no contact from the performers…

“The text is spoken well and all of the actors seem comfortable with heightened language. The cast is predominately female…Whether or not it was intentional, due to the cast being very young (late teens to early twenties, I’d guess) it carried a disturbing reminder that many who fought in our past wars were young and child soldiers are a very real tragedy in many places around the world today…

“The most notable features in this production are the regular movement sequences between the scenes. Some are abstract, some capture the brutality of battle and killing. All of them are impeccably choreographed and directed by Ailin Conant of Theatre-Temoin

“The performances in this ensemble piece were good, but as is often the case with very young performers, few stood out. No one was particularly weak but neither was anyone outstanding…

“The venue is certainly worth experiencing in this well-designed production of a rarely performed play. Though a showcase, it is certainly not a difficult one to sit through.”

Read the entire review on everything theatre here.

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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