The Flies by Jean Paul Sartre. The Bunker, Southwark Street, London SE1 to 6 July. 1*. William Russell

By Jean Paul Sartre
The Bunker, 53a Southwark Street, London SE! 1RU to 6 July 2019.
Tues – Sat 7.30pm. Sat 8pm.
Runs 2hr 20 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 0207 234 0486.
Review: William Russell 18 June.
Mourning becomes more than Electra

The original production of this adaptation of Jean Paul Sartre’s play Les Mouches ten years ago apparently secured the future of this enterprising Anglo French company. They won an Offie and it may well have been deserved. It is dubious whether this revival directed by David Furlong will do the same. Sartre was not a great playwright, although his Huis Clos is part of the repertoire and an exception perhaps. This one struck a chord in 1943 as it seemed to resonate to audiences as an attack on the Nazi occupation of France. What this version is about is anybody’s guess, although it is claimed to be about fake news which may explain all the television sets showing slogans littering the acting space although they could, it appears, be the gods watching the goings on. The company do some performances in French, some in English. The former might be better than the ones in English as one could blame incomprehension on one’s own weakness with the French language. Either way why the audience returned at the interval the night I saw the English version – and it is seemed a very long night – was a mystery, a luxury denied me but one they could have enjoyed.
There really is no point in discussing the performances, which are all inept. I do not like demolishing a production by any fringe company because all of them struggle to survive, but this production is a mess, makes little or no sense and is very badly acted and shows no signs of having been directed . It employs a Mauritian rock band, A Riot in Heaven, to back the tale of how Orestes and Electra return to Thebes where Agamemnon is dead, Clytemnestra rules and a plague of flies is causing havoc. The band produces lots of wailing noises and its members speaks some lines very badly, but they have the excuse of not claiming to be actors. Unfortunately they don’t perform any numbers to break the torpor engulfing the audience. There really is no reason to say much more. One could make the best of a bad job but in the circumstances silence is probably best.
Orestes: Samy Elkhatib.
Aegisthus: David Furlong.
Clytemnestra/Fury: Fany Dulin.
Elektra: Meena Rayann.
Jupiter: Raul Fernandes.
The Tutor: Juliet Dante.
The Anonymous: Jonathan Brandt.
Soraya Spiers: The Woman/Fury.
Chris Runciman: High Priest/Fury.

Director. David Furlong.
Musical Director: Paco Esquire.
Set Design: Nina Fandre.
Lighting: Julien Bernard-Grau.
Costumes: Sarah Habib.
Production phgotographs: Camille Dufrenoy.


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