Updating the classics works very well in theory. The trouble is that, in practice, you can lose as much as you gain. Saltmine Theatre is a Dudley-based touring company and their latest production is an adaptation of John Bunyan’s allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. Richard Hasnip and David Robinson (Robinson also directs) have modernised the 17th century language; this means that much of the epic quality of the story is diminished.
The devil, they say, has all the best tunes. Certainly those who seek to trip up Christian (Matthew J Sunners) in his journey to the City of Light have all the best lines. Craig Edgar takes full advantage of these. Anna Newcome, Simon Rodda and Anna Turner] are the other players, taking a multiplicity of parts.
Using a multi-level plain set with screens and some effective use of lighting by Sam Fryatt, there are some good visual effects. These include the projections by James White as well as oriental theatre techniques. You can’t fault the sincerity of the young cast, but the impression with which I was left was that somehow the journeys undertaken by the characters were just a walk through the wilderness. No trumpets sounded on the other side.