Seeing Snoo Wilson’s More Light, in this
perky revival by Trifle Productions at the Rose Theatre, I had an increasing
feeling that I was watching a pile of utter nonsense. Entertaining, articulate, erudite and sometimes witty
nonsense but mumbo-jumbo nonetheless.
With necromancy, 16th Century cosmology
and, dare I say it, religion as a background, it’s little wonder.
Wilson takes an historical character – Giordano
Bruno, the Italian Dominican burned at the stake in 1600 – and plunges him into
a heavenly, dream-like realm where he meets the unearthly body of Queen
Elizabeth I, a female Shakespeare in fishnet stockings and a sexy barmaid with
Sycorax for a mother and a menu tattooed on her rump.
Believe it or not, things only get weirder and,
without Chris Hislop’s excellent production and great performances from the
cast of seven, the rampant wackiness could easily have become intolerable.
Neil Chinneck’s superb Pope reeks of sanctimony and
evil intent without ever resorting to cliché and Cassandra Hodges is an
attractive Queen Elizabeth, nudging at times in the direction of Miranda
Richardson’s immortal portrayal.
Rob Lydnon is a Prospero-like Doctor Dee (the
scientist-mystic of Elizabeth’s court) and Nicholas Ruben a wily Kelly/Caliban. Claire Jared’s Shakespeare can only be
described as impish while Leanna Wigginton as the brassy barmaid carries off
the demands made on her (including pleasuring herself with a feather) with
aplomb. Jackson Wright is solid as
the journeying Bruno at the centre of all the madness.
If you’ve never experienced a Snoo Wilson work, he
has to be seen once and this is as good an introduction to his mystifying world
as you’re likely to get.