Rather risky for Philip Pullman, trusting Holly Race and Mutabilitie Productions to transpose his convoluted allegorical Clockwork successfully within the intimate confines of the Larkum studio at the Cambridge ADC. A risk worth taking however, and perhaps better judgement than letting Hollywood loose on his Golden Compass. Mutabilitie has created a mesmerising interpretation that deserves a larger audience than this short run can absorb.
Pullman’s fairytale of human fallibility centres on the inevitable consequences of choice. An aspirational clockmaker and a prince seeking posterity make (lethal, as it turns out) pacts with the devil. Director/producer Race feeds the fantasy with a steampunk design and inspired shadow puppet lighting, leading you up the forest path and into the heart of a ravenous wolf pack.
A fast-moving performance is held together by Matt Jamie’s conjouring of a commandingly chilling ‘Dr. Kalmenius’, by Eleanor Buchan’s playful ‘Gretl’ and the understated charm of Katie Alcock’s mute ‘Florian’. A few rough edges amongst the less seasoned actors are subsumed by pace and passion.
Moral messages that permeate Pullman’s text resonate well in a university setting. Do not cheat. Do not leave things until the last minute. Certainly do not miss this playful concoction. Follow Mutabilitie to their next surprise offering - this courageous company are “all wound up”.