to drop your guard and open your mind for The Tartuffe. If
you are a fan of the original Moliere play, get ready to forget everything you
think you know.
cast interacting with the audience as they sit in the bar, to the group hug at
the end, you can forget the notion of being a passive audience member as you
become an integral part of the play. Throughout the show off-stage characters
are constantly whispering an opinion, giving some advice or handing out
stage-hand duties to members of the audience, ensuring that everyone feels part
of the action.
masterful mayhem of farce, satire, mime and clowning helps Orgon Poquelin
(Dominic J Allen) tell the story of his fall from grace at the hands of the
conman Tartuffe (Marcus Emerton). Assisted by his troupe of Parisian
actors, members of the audience and the stage manager Renard le Clown (Jethro
Compton), the show hurtles through at breakneck speed, often interrupted by
the sheer insanity of the situation.
takes the reigns of the show and runs with them, dragging the audience along
with him. His comedic timing is nothing short of perfection; he shifts
effortlessly from past to present, from scripted to improvised, constantly
keeping the audience on their toes.
Wilkes’s direction is flawless and a special mention must go to Compton, who
lights up the stage as Renard, not only subtly hilarious, but providing the necessary
light relief when the story becomes confusing.
the show gets a little caught up in itself, the constant breaks from the
narrative providing excellent comedy but doing little to assist understanding
of the plot. With a running time of two hours without an interval, one is
immediately envious of those sitting on the sofas.
Trial, based on Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel, follows Joseph K
(Allen) as he is arrested for a crime neither he, nor the audience, have any
knowledge of. Throughout the play he tries to understand what it is that
he has done and how he is to be acquitted of it, fighting the bizarre
bureaucracy that now surrounds him.
10 minutes of the play were possibly some of the most memorable of my theatre-going
life. Without giving too much away, the setup succeeds perfectly in its aims,
leaving the audience dazed and confused as to what is about to happen. Suitably
bewildered, we embark on this beautifully-staged piece, helped greatly by
the setting of the vaults underneath London Bridge.
direction throughout is superb, the actors intermingling with the audience
enough to keep them on their toes and to keep suspense suitably high.
With scenes set throughout the vault, the space itself is curiously
overwhelming, with walls and set pieces appearing out of nowhere, ominously lit
through lamps, candles and the actors’ handheld torches.
simply overruns its welcome. The fact of having to stand for an hour means that
the novelty wears off, and a plot too complicated to properly grasp leaves the
audience restless. Nevertheless, the piece is beautifully crafted and
well construed, the opening and the setting alone making the trip