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Vieux Carre (EIF)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Royal Lyceum Theatre
21- 4 August

Tennessee William’s unashamedly autobiographical play is given an only partially successful make-over by The Wooster Group. One of his last produced plays, Vieux Carre, a 16 performance flop on Broadway in 1977, takes place in the 30’s, in a seedy New Orleans boarding house run by the estimable Mrs. Wire. We see a fledgling author struggling with his talent and his sexuality.

The Wooster Group play out the action on huge moving metal platforms with the detritus of life scattered around and huge television screens playing film clips. The actors are amplified so that you feel as if you are listening to a rather bad melodrama on late night TV. I am not quite sure of the purpose of having one character show us his erection for much of the play (a prosthesis, I think, or an actor with great stamina).

The problem, perhaps with the play, but more likely with this production, is that it is impossible to make an emotional connection with any of the characters. You leave after the two hour intermissionless production impressed with the technical aspects and bold theatricality, but utterly unmoved.

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