Burton-Morgan has taken considerable liberties with Pirandello’s original, switching the gender of two of its characters and the sexuality of the protagonist. She has also erased the social and class distinctions, and Pirandello’s attack on bourgeois apathy. What remains is a more playful encounter, though fortunately Samuel Collings possesses the intensity and charisma to grasp the audience from his first moments, and with the aid of Burton-Morgan’s appropriately detailed direction, he gives a performance in which his slightest movement is filled with interest and import.
The choice of venue is inspired, with the audience seated in rows facing the door and windows to the outside world; the backdrop is a busy road and the soundtrack its stuttering rattle of traffic. Pirandello purists may balk at what this production misses, but with stunning performances and a setting which blends convincing immersion with a disjunctive theatricality, it’s an enthralling hour in New Cross.
- Stewart Pringle