The Wolf From The Door: Rory Mullarkey
Royal Court Theatre,
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs,
London SW1W 8AS
Mon-Sat 7.45pm; Thurs, Sat mats 3pm
Captioned perf: Tues Oct 28, 7.45pm
Runs: 85mins without interval, to 01 11 14
TICKETS 020 7565 -5000
In person: Mon–Sat, 10am-start of perf or 6pm if no show
Age guidance: 15+
Mondays all tickets £10; concs £5 off two top prices on daily standby; for 25s and under; School and HE groups of 8+; groups of 6+
Access: £12 + companion
*ID required. All discounts are subject to availability
Review: by Carole Woddis of performance seen Sept 22, 2014:
Prophecy or fantasy – time will tell
I don’t know about `keeping the wolf from the door’ but in Rory Mullarkey’s high satire, the barbarians are inside the gates and pulling down the walls.
Is something afoot? Is England, at last, stirring? It may only be a glimmer but Mullarkey’s The Wolf From the Door may yet prove prophetic. Or maybe only a flight of fancy.
The coffee morning and flower arranging middle classes are in revolt. The beheading is not here the work of Islamists but a beautiful, free-spirited boy picked up by the aristocratic Lady Catherine (Anna Chancellor in full sail) whose vision of an unjust society is about to take on a macabrely surreal turn.
The flower arrangers are storing semtex, the Bishop of Bath & Wells is preparing his suicide. All is in preparation for the sign – the beheading of the local supermarket assistant manager – for the revolution that in Lady Catherine’s words `is the only way to start again…we are sickened by a system which preaches moderation and fairness and equality but in fact merely breeds division and slavery and poverty, in many cases economic, in all cases spiritual.’
A veritable call to arms, Mullarkey slightly over-eggs the pudding by the heights to which his absurdist fantasy reaches – samurai sword wielding Morris dancers in Barnet, `politicians detonated by club-bouncers…columnists disembowelled by angry rude-boys…ladies who lunch lynching football players…’ (rather liked the latter) . Insurrection on speed, it’s certainly gleefully pugilistic and anarchic – the end of the comfortable world as we know it.
As if to underline the point director James Macdonald ratchets up tension and plays the middle England card ironically for all its worth summoning up stentorian solemnity with Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance, Holst’s The Planets and even Radio 4’s goodnight signature tune, `Sailing By’.
Chancellor makes a marvellous stiff lipped, silk-shirt and tweed revolutionary even in the face of Calvin Demba’s undoubtedly tempting nudity whilst Sophie Russell and Pearce Quigley swop personas and classes from supermarket to vestry and even Civil War enacted Roundheads. A good jape. But a George Devine and Pinter commission award winner? Now that is a bit of a surprise.
The Wolf From The Door
By Rory Mullarkey
Leo: Calvin Demba
Catherine: Anna Chancellor
Female roles: Sophie Russell
Male Roles: Pearce Quigley
Director: James Macdonald
Lighting Designer: Peter Mumford
Sound Designer: Giles Thomas
Dialect Coach: Penny Dyer
Assistant Director: Diyan Zora
Casting Director: Julia Horan CDG
World premiere of The Wolf From the Door, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, Sloane Square, London, Sept 10, 2014.
For more info see: www.royalcourttheatre.co.uk