OUR WORLD AT WAR
A rep of Troilus & Cressida and Coriolanus
by William Shakespeare
adapted by Ricky Dukes
Tristan Bates Theatre, 1a Tower Street, London WC2H9NP to 6 September 2014
Mon – Sat 7.30pm
Runs 2 hr 45 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 0207 240 6283
Review: William Russell 22 August
A rewarding double bill.
The concept behind this Lazarus Theatre production is interesting – a look at people in time of war linked to the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War – although whether it actually works is another matter. Putting the two plays, savagely cut, as a double bill, however, works well and provides a splendid platform for the company to exhibit its skills and talent. It has plenty of both.
The best production directed by Ricky Dukes is that of Coriolanus. Troilus and Cressida is a difficult play at the best of times and his staging – the action takes place round a long party table piled with food and balloons, the actors wear masks and blow party hooters – is frankly fussy and fails to distinguish just who are the Greeks, who the Trojans, and where things are happening. The result is confusing if not confused and it all comes suddenly to an end.
However, Nicholas Farr is a splendidly virile and faithless Troilus, Colette O’Rourke is a touching Cressida, that most abused of heroines, and as Pandarus Matt Butcher creates a really creepy creature with just the faintest hint of camp to explain why he is what he is.
As the loathsome Thersites, however, CJ de Mooi has been encouraged to go fatally over the top. As Menenius in Coriolanus his performance is a model of restraint so Dukes must take some of the blame.
Prince Plockey makes an impressive Coriolanus, a bantam cock of a fighter, as a man who cannot, for all his success in battle, adapt to the way of a politician and woo the rabble he despises.
The best verse speaking in that play comes from Dyfed Cynan as Aufidius, the leader of the Volscians, and Kerry Willison-Parry rises to Volumnia’s big speech splendidly. Maybe there is too much background music of the rhythmic phrase repeated endlessly type in both plays, but the cast make good use of their props – a set of chairs in Coriolanus, that long table in Troilus & Cressida – and their ensemble work is impressive.
The production, part of the Camden Fringe 2014, goes to show that not everything worth while theatrically is on in Edinburgh’s Fringe where it would have stood out amid the stand up comedians and clapped out TV presenters.
One flaw – in Coriolanus the cast come on in nice white gym shoes and take them off. I am fed up seeing actor’s bunions, corns, and bashed toenails. It is the worst kind of stage nudity.
Troilus & Cressida
Troilus: Nicholas Farr
Cressida: Colette O’Rourke
Pandarus: Matt Butcher
Priam: Kerry Willison-Parry
Aeneas/Menelaus: Dyfed Cynan
Hector/Agamemnon: Prince Plockey
Helenus/Patroclus: Paul Christian Rogers
Paris: Stephen Horncastle
Andromache: Micha Colombo
Cassandra: Charlotte Mafham
Achilles/Ulysses: Simon Haycock
Nestor: Leo Garrick
Calchas: Toby Liszt
Diomedes: Chris Machan
Thersites: CJ de Mooi
Helen of Troy: Rebecca Severn
Coriolanus: Prince Plockey
Volumnia: Kerry Willison-Parry
Virgilia Charlotte Mafham
Cominius: Matt Butcher
Menenius: CJ de Mooi
Valeria: Colette O’Rourke
Lartius: Rebecca Severn
Nicanor/Senator: Micha Colombo
Brutus: Paul Christian Rogers
Sicinius: Toby Liszt
Aufidius: Dyfed Cynan
Lieutenant: Simon Haycock
Senator: Chris Machari
Commander A/ Senator: Nicholas Farr
Commander B/ Citizen: Leo Garrick
Senator/ Citizen: Stephen Horncastle
Director: Ricky Dukes
Lighting Design: Stuart Glover
Sound Design: Neil McKeown
Costume Design: Rachel Dingle
Associate Director: Gavin Harrington-Odedra
Assistant Director: Any Insole