by John Milton.
Trinity Buoy Wharf 64 Orchard Place London E14 0JY To 22 June 2013.
Tue-Sun 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 3pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7478 0170.
Review: Tilly Lunken 4 June.
Be guided through a performance of poetry.
Trinity Buoy Wharf is transformed into an interpretation of heaven. A heavenly host of angels’ voices fill the space – rising in adoration of God. It is beautiful, the acoustics are divine, but all is not well in Heaven. War is here and the fate of man is upon us. It is Paradise soon to be lost and in fitting tradition to John Milton’s poem, Fourth Monkey’s production is epic.
Paradise Lost is performed in a split warehouse space. On one side whitewashed Heaven and the other a hot mess of Hell/Eden/Chaos/ and the Bar. What really worked in this production is the staging. It is innovative and engaging; even if at times being shepherded to another part of the theatre is tiring, it works well and is integral to the performance.
Set and Costume designer Zahra Mansouri produces a splendid space and aesthetic. Within a visually dynamic space detail is precise and a constant surprise. At interval peruse Heaven and see the maquettes for Eden next door (God’s Creation); and take note of the photos as you exit. There is much more than a surface understanding of design, nicely matched in other production values.
It’s hard though with epic poetry blended with physical theatre to balance exposition with action and drama. The adaptation is grounded in movement rather than story and at times it becomes difficult to follow exactly what’s happening and why.
So, it’s hard to pair confusing script with unfolding action as Adam is shown a representation of his future. However, at some level, it still works as you are caught in the middle of it all, swept up in the experience.
This is very much an ensemble performance – a large cast has interchangeable roles. Characters that stand out include Angel Gabriel and her chorus of followers; a quite adorable Adam and Eve and a suitably creepy Satan.
But this show isn’t about deep characterisation – it is about big questions, big events and big ideas. And ironically it ends up questioning the very concept of God – for who would give both Paradise and the method to lose it?
Performers: Sam Adamson, Natalie Allison, Rowan Briggs, Leanne Bennet, Bethany Braithwaite, Danny Brown, Katie Cherry, Daniel Chrisostomou, Sadie Clark, Eleanor Cotton-Soares, Calvin Crawley, Samantha Daniels, Rueban Beau Davies, Jo Hart, Ruth Rundle, Adam Will-Jones, Mollie Lambert, Jessica Lee, Adela Leiro, Scott McGarrick, Jennifer O’Neill, Alex Reynolds, Ami Sayers, Francesca Smith, Alice Trow, Adam Trusse, Katie Turner.
Director: Ailin Conant.
Designer: Zahra Mansouri.
Lighting: Pablo Fernandez-Baz.
Sound: Jamie Flockton.
Movement: Angela Gasparetto.