LEONCE AND LENA
by George Buchner adaped by Corinna Duemier.
Brockley Jack Studio 410 Brockley Road SE4 2DH To 29 August 2015.
Runs 1hr 10min No interval.
TICKETS: 0333 666 3366.
Review: William Russell 20 August.
Curiouser and curiouser, and well worth catching.
Written for a literary competition, but submitted too late, this very early play be George Buchner – Woyzeck and Danton’s Death are probably his best known plays – was not performed until some 60 years after his death.
There is usually a reason for that happening. But this version by Corinna Duemier is certainly well worth catching. It is a curiosity, but the play is certainly not one that should be confined to the dustbin for unperformed early works.
It is a satire on the Prussian absolute monarchy apparently, but most of that passed me by and the work comes over as a bizarre fairy tale in the Alice in Wonderland mould. Two lovers, the son of Queen Petra and a princess called Lena have some amazing adventures involving lots of word play, aided and abetted by the Prince’s sidekick, Valerio, who is a bossy soul. Meanwhile the Queen, who is distinctly crazy, carries on all over the place, including in the audience. Buried under the verbal glitter are quite serious issued about the inevitability of destiny and the individual’s freedom to choose, but they do take some digging out.
Better still to sit back and enjoy and not worry about meaning. There is a splendid set consisting of gauze curtains and string which is imaginately lit and the four players, who play a variety of roles, are all on top form.
Emma Waterford as the Queen is dazzling, the lovers – Andrew Barton and Sarah Ratner – are impressive, while Sam Adamson plays the conniving Valerio to the hilt. It is an off the wall evening, frequently very funny, and while it makes no sense at times the ingenuity of Roberta Zuric’s production makes it something to relish.
Valerio/President: Sam Adamson.
Leonce/President: Andrew Barton.
Queen Petra/Governess/President: Emma Waterford.
Lena/President: Sarah Ratner.
Director: Roberta Zuric.
Designer/Costume: William Ingham.
Soun: Philip Matejtschuk.