THE DIARY OF A NOBODY: Adapted by Jonathan Ap Emrys from the novel by George and Weedon Grossmith
Old Joint Stock Theatre
Runs: 1h 55m, one interval, till 29 01 14
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 28 01 14
An adaptation that doesn’t hold together.
This adaptation of DIARY OF A NOBODY is a bold attempt to translate a very funny novel into a performance with a small company.
The story is entertaining in FRED’s production, but doesn’t entirely work. The production has you smiling often enough, but the big laughs, frequent in the book, are missing. This may be because the adaptation moves the story from the original Victorian setting to a modern one. People who ineptly aspire to a higher class may be still with us (for instance in Abigail’s Party) but the climbing is different. DIARY OF A NOBODY sits oddly in a modern setting.
Emrys’s adaptation and Ball’s direction have not enabled the comedy to be released for the style falls between two stools. It is neither one which allows for significant length scenes in which characters can truly relate creating a life within the play, nor is it one which enables a fully fluid story-telling style in which we can be engaged in a relaxed manner into the life of the play.
The actors are left performing in isolation rendering the performance oddly flat.
James Parsons plays Mr Pooter; he needs a context in which he can really relax and speak to us (rather than at us) – for as diarist he carries a great deal of the narrative. And I longed for some scenes in which he and Mrs Pooter (ably played by Sarah Gordon) could create the life between them. Mark Spriggs creates a nice Gowing with a range of other intriguing characters.
Lupin Pooter: Lee Davies
Caroline Pooter: Sarah Gordon
Lillie Mutlar: Elizabeth Lloyd Raynes
Charles Pooter: James Parsons
Gowing: Mark Spriggs
Original Music Composed and Performed by; Jennywentaway
Direction and Design: Robert F Ball