Writer/ director Jethro Compton filters the tale of the Hunchback of Notre Dame through the twisted perception of the title character. The result is a production that tells the story with brevity and clarity whilst retaining the spirit of the original. Unfortunately Compton bolts on a twist that takes the tale past the point of the natural ending.
The play is set in a tent in the Parisian sewers. Made up of rags and lit by only two candles it allows Quasimodo (Joe Hufton) to dramatically merge with the shadows. An excellent cast of four portray the principal characters and act as a demonic chorus. Hufton gives a powerful performance; twisted into an animalistic shape his delusional neediness creates a frightening and dangerous figure.
As the other characters are figments of Quasimodo’s mind they are less well realised. Nevertheless, James Wilkes and Serena Manteghie, respectively, show the basic decency of Pheobus and the inner conflict tormenting Esmerelda.
Greater care needs to be taken in getting the audience to the venue efficiently. A number of farcical complications occurred which hindered the development of the atmosphere upon which the success of the show depends.
- Dave Cunningham