Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Victorian in the Wall Review

The Victorian in the Wall
By Will Adamsdale
Royal Court Season.

Living in a Victorian Mansion apartment, has it’s advantages but when Guy’s girlfriend Fi heads overseas for a conference and leaves him in charge of supervising the kitchen renovations he doesn’t expect one of the to be the uncovering of a bona fide Victorian living in his wall. Also appearing in into Guy’s life this week is an extremely capable hipster-builder; a long lost son and seasons 1-3 of The Wire. It’s all go!

This Victorian, Mr. Elms has a story that might just get Guy off his ass and into action. Although it’ll likely take nearly the entire play. You see Guy is a writer, who shies from deadlines; has called in all his last favours and doesn’t actually like writing. I would say that Will Adamsdale did a very good job of making the somewhat unlikable main character bearable. To be honest, writers who sit about whinging about how ‘hard it is to write’ and harping on about ‘their award winning short stories’ can be extremely trying. Everyone knows that writing can be hard work and that is part of the process! It’s a line that the show treads neatly, with enough surrounding likeableness to carry Guy through to the other side as a pretty good bloke rather than a no-hoper. 

Chris Branch’s sound design and songs were a real highlight of the production. I do enjoy theatre that uses song well, and The Victorian in the Wall certainly did. Especially memorable was the one detailing Guy and Fi’s romance and the “knock-through” song – the refrain ‘knock it through please’ which still flows into my brain long after the show.

The set design was also inspired, in that it was so intrinsically connected with the direction, performance and the story that at times it was just magical. Michael Vale demonstrates considerable talent (although it must have been a bit of a nightmare to tour the show, with all the organised chaos).

I really enjoyed the craft of this work. It was clearly theatre made by people that both love and want to play with the form. Well performed, well directed, well designed and well written – The Victorian in the Wall is such a well-rounded production and it really proves the point that if you invest time in new writing you get excellent results. 

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