Woyzeck, Birmingham Rep, 4****: Rod Dungate


Woyzeck: Georg Buchner, Version by Leo Butler


Birmingham Rep Theatre: The House

Runs: 1h 35m, no interval till Sat 23 June

Bham Rep BO: 0121 236 4455

Review: Rod Dungate, 19 June 2018



A huge, bold, thought-provoking event

Woyzek is a notable production for a number of reasons. It is a community production with a cast of more than 100 performers. It’s a most unusual choice for a community play and Roxana Silbert, who directs, is uncompromising with the play’s themes. The production, therefore, becomes an exciting performance for the audience and a thrilling and learning experience for the community company. In addition, we may note that Silbert is the Rep Artistic Director, clearly a hands-on AD, not one for farming out a tick-box community play.

Buchner’s 19th Century play has been updated and adapted by playwright, Leo Butler. The eponymous Woyzeck has meaning while in the army, though he describes how society is ‘sucking him in.’ Despite all his best efforts as a civilian once peace breaks out, he is unable to effect himself neither in the present nor future. Eventually he destroys all he loves and ultimately himself He is the victim of a society that, ironically, he has spent his youth defending.

It’s bleak. If not a totally mirror of our times, it is in part.

Thomas Pickles is superb as Woyzeck. He is full of energy and cheer, frustration and bewilderment. He is the glue that holds the play together.

There are a great number of strong performances throughout, everyone bringing something unique to their role.

Roxana Silbert merges the huge resources with sensitivity and strength, building a satisfying rhythm as the play moves along. Leo Butler’s adaptation works well in its modern setting and you are constantly reminded of a contemporary term Buchner would not have known – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This production is a bold venture, and for Birmingham and event.

Thomas Pickles: Woyzeck

Jalleh Alizadeh: Marie

Creative Tea

Director: Roxana Silbert

Associate Director and Choreographer: Rose Kay

Designer: Neil Murray

Assistant Designer: Connie Burley

Lighting Designer: Leo Curran

Composer / Musical Director: Tom Rackham

Voice Coach: Stephen Kemble

Community Company

Gill Adams Fair Queen

Paul Adams Fair King

Ashfaq Ahmed Villager

Amir Ali Showman

Agne Al-Mallak Salsa Dancer

Maria Arroja Ferreira Bhangra Dancer

Rajvinder Beghal Bhangra Dancer

Joanna Bell Villager

Greta Bendinelli Village Girl

Tijan Bobb Construction Worker / Smuggler

Shane Brettle Villager

Dwayne Brown Construction Worker / Soldier

Mohammad Hasib Bullah Construction Worker / Soldier

Susy Bury Villager

Margaret Cash Bhangra Dancer

Ella Cockerton Band

Steph Cole Village Girl

Richard Constable Construction Worker

Claudette Dawson Firearms Dealer

Joseph Patrick Derbyshire Soldier

Tom Derrick Stilt Walker

James Flaherty Firearms Dealer

John Flynn Villager

Tracey Garratt Villager

David Gering-Hasthorpe Construction Worker

Samantha Gessey Old Woman

Joanne Gould Villager

Donna Greatorex Bhangra Dancer

Gemma Harper Villager

Linda Hisgett Doctor

Jeremy Hunt Villager

Liz Hunt Village Girl

Josef Hyland Drum Major

Julie James Soldier

Duval Jefferson Reid Construction Worker / Soldier

Simi Johal Bhangra Dancer

Keanu Johnson Construction Worker / Soldier

Karan Jutlla Bhangra Dancer

Dorothy Lawrence Salsa Dancer

Jason Lee Soldier

Emily Lightfoot Salsa Dancer

Guy Martyr Band / Soldier

Samantha McGrath Trainee Doctor

Richella McPherson Robot

Ria Moeyens Villager

Ellen Mundon Villager

Sabrina Nabi Village Girl

Colin Nelson Villager

Niya Nikolova Villager

Emma O’Brien Soldier

Sharon O’Brien Villager

Thalia Ocean Salsa Dancer

Thomas Oflaherty Band

Nerina Orton Living Statue / Stilt Walker

Aakanksha Rawat Bhangra Dancer

Martin Reynolds Villager

Duval Ried Construction Worker / Soldier

Troy Richards Andres

Gillian Rushton Villager

Elliot Samuels Soldier

Emily Sandford Village Girl

Jade Senior Village Girl

Bik Singh Showman

Karina Smith Salsa Dancer

Kezia Stanley-Gaussen Executive

Alina Starsa Salsa Dancer

Nicolas Sullivan Captain

Kayleigh Talbot Village Girl

Vicki Taylor Villager

Jason Timmington Band

Edwina Turner Villager

Neil Vassell Sergeant

Eliza Wade Village Girl

Rachel Walker Soldier

Xavier Walker Living Statue

Duke Washinghton Villager

Chloe Wassell Village Girl

Callum Watson Soldier

James Williams Soldier

Rieghanne Williams-Yearwood Village Girl

Scott Wilson Band

Jane Winder Trainee Doctor

Tembi Xena Trainee Doctor

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