Review: Woyzeck by The Moot House Players

Lifestyle / Sun 16th Nov 2014 at 01:46pm

WoyczekBY Siobhan Wood

AS someone with an aversion to audience participation, I was a little nervous when I saw how intimate the venue at Moot Hall was but by the end of the play all thoughts of this were forgotten and I was leaning forward, mouth open in an unflattering fashion, hanging off the cast’s every word.

A lot of dark subject matter is covered in this play which details a soldier’s mental decay as he takes part in medical experiments and sees his partner grow close to someone else. Despite this, there were plenty of laugh out loud moments and relief for the concerned and captivated audience.

It’s great to watch something where every single cast member deserves a mention for their performance. No matter who was on the stage the pace didn’t drop and I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

Sam Freeman played the abused and vulnerable Woyzeck brilliantly and I felt so sorry for him I found myself wishing they would just give the poor man a break. Sam bought a few audience members to tears at the end of the play and I am not at all surprised – even when he finally reacts to the constant pressures he has been under, you still sympathise with him.

Hazel Owen gave a mature performance as Marie, impressing me at the start of the play with her subtle comedic timing and throughout with her confidence and ability to own the space.

Tyrone Samuels as The Doctor drew many laughs from the crowd and I really enjoyed his charismatic yet psychotic performance.

Michael Rees was wonderful as The Philosophiser with the audience smiling in anticipation each time he came onto the stage, lapping up his lovable drunken performance as he delivered words of pessimistic wisdom: “Even money rots.”

I enjoyed Kerry Rowland as The Captain, who gave a convincing performance of yet another figure in Woyzeck’s life who invalidates and ridicules him.

Dan Powell as Andy / The Regimental Sergeant Major played the bad guy brilliantly and was captivating despite it being difficult to watch his horrible behaviour in one of the more violent scenes.

I looked forward to seeing (and indeed hearing) Maisie Humphreys, who played Maggie / A Singer, who was graceful as the only person who seemed to have a conscience and bought an element of humanity with her.

Harry Tennison, who also directed the play, was intriguing as The Showman and added an eerie sense of trickery and confusion to proceedings.

I found Joan Lanario as The Grandmother / A Jew, brilliant and scary, with a cackle that fittingly closed the play.

The lighting perfectly illustrated transitions between scenes and you didn’t need scenery because the actors’ performances were so strong you truly believed you were right there where they wanted you to be.

I certainly had not been expecting to become so involved in the play and with strong characters, an enthralling plot and surprisingly lots to laugh at I was hooked from start to finish.

I would love to see this again but bring my friends and watch the effect the play has on them. It was a slick and truly impressive production and an absolute bargain at £8.

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