Cadfael - The Virgin in the Ice (tour - Worthing, Connaught Theatre)
The play is set on a frequently changing stage, sparse and open much of the time with a feel of space and cold; accentuated by whistling wind in the open rooms. When outside the cast often battle to be heard over the raging wind, a battle they don’t always win and some of the text can be lost.
This is a very exposition-heavy production, adding that to the multitude of scenes in its filmic format you need to concentrate to avoid missing crucial elements of the storyline. The scene changes are seamless with the action, albeit on a dimmed stage, using sound and video to continue developing the narrative.
With respect to the cast, they all give strong but not outstanding performances. Thomas as Cadfael is present on stage for the majority of the play portraying this self-effacing character in a controlled if occasionally somewhat understated style. The other roles that stand out are those of Olivier (Tom Kanji), Ermina and Yves all of whom are central to the plot and free from the constraints of monk’s habits – of which there are quite a lot.
Overall therefore, this production has good performances throughout. The over-exuberance of the sound can distract from the text at times. However the use of multimedia adds to the production and aids it to flow and maintain momentum.