by Georg Büchner.
Nottingham Playhouse To 4 June 2011.
Runs 1h4 45min No interval.
Review: Alan Geary: 3 June.
A tastefully degenerate approach to live theatre. Excellent.
It isn’t so much some very good – rather than brilliant – individual performances that make Deutsches Theater’s Woyzeck memorable. It’s the overall package, the combination of music and visual image and the very un-English, tastefully degenerate approach to live theatre.
Cosy night out this isn’t. Woyzeck, married with a child, is a brow-beaten soldier treated like dirt by his Captain. He’s supplementing a mean income by letting a doctor perform medical experiments on him. Not only is Woyzeck being driven literally mad by the pressures on him, the wife falls in love with the Drum Major and decides to abandon him. In the end he cuts her throat then stabs her to death.
With good reason, Moritz Grove, in the title part, is balding and hunched and wears a permanently broken-down expression. But, bizarrely for his successful love rival, the Drum Major (Christoph Franke), who overhangs his belt, is even more unprepossessing.
Markus Graf, excellent as the down-market Fairground Barker, reminds us of the MC in Cabaret except that he’s uncouth and un-camp. After a rough song he lights up a fag to soothe a cough.
Tom Waites’s music, done live by some superb players whose costumes add to the fun, is edgy, witty and cynical, with, here, a strong suggestion of Weill about it. Songs like ‘Always Keep a Diamond in Your Mind’, with its C and W sound, or ‘All the World is Green’ are beautifully rendered.
A super design touch: it’s performed on a round acting space that’s sloped all over: everyone has to make outlandish efforts to get from one side of it to the other.
An abiding image? It’s the one used in all the posters: the touching simplicity of Woyzeck and Marie dancing, she with a balloon, presumably to represent the moon, tied to her arm.
This is part of the Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival (Neat11).
Woyzeck: Moritz Grove.
Marie: Maren Eggert.
Captain: Matthias Neukirch.
Doctor: Helmut Mooshammer.
Drum Major: Christoph Franken.
Andres: Jonas Anders.
Margret: Pia Luise Händler.
Barker in the Fairground/Karl (Idiot): Markus Graf.
Musicians: Philipp Haagen, John Schröder, Anne-Christine Schwarz, Rainer Süβmilch, Benjamin Weidekamp, Derek Shirley.
Director: Jorinde Dröse.
Designer: Susanne Schuboth.
Musical Director: Philipp Haagen.
Costume: Susanne Schuboth.
Dramaturg: Claus Caesar.