by Mathew Bosley
based on the novella by Adelbert von Chamisso.
Three stars ***
Theatre N16, The Bedford to July 7
77 Bedford Hill, Balham, London SW12 9HD to 7 July 2016.
Mon – Thurs 7.30pm
Runs 50 mins No interval.
A lost boy without a shadow
Schlemiel is Yiddish for a man who is clumsy, awkward and long suffering, someone for whom things never turn out right. Matthew Bosley’s adaptation of Chamisso’s novella, which he also directs, was one of a season of plays staged by postgraduate students at the Mountview Academy which have been given a home by Theatre N16 in its new south London home.
Bosley has done a good job as both writer and director – the staging is simple, but effective – and he is well served by his cast. Alex Marlow is appealing, and sympathetic as the Candide figure of Peter, an innocent abroad who believes what people say when he should think again before agreeing to their proposals, someone who succumbs to the lure of high society unaware that riches alone will not make him one of them.
When offered the bargain of untold wealth for his shadow by a Man in Grey, who is, of course, as anybody could have told him, the Devil, he takes the offer at face value. After all who needs a shadow?
The other members of the cast – Billy Irving, Philippa Rose and Georgina Terry, play all the other parts effectively – with Irving in particular an impressively sinister and persuasive Man in Grey.
Peter’s journey through society, discovering that people with no shadow are outcasts – make of that what you will in today’s world where some belong, some are outcasts, and some are undeservedly filthy rich – is salutary. It is well worth going along for the ride. He also discovers that pacts with the devil are never a good idea.
Peter: Alex Marlow.
Man in Grey: Billy Irving.
Bendel: Philippa Rose.
Mina: Georgina Terry.
All other parts by members of the cast.
Director: Matthew Bosley.