C Venues @ 13:30
Frank Wedekind’s once banned play of Morality and Sexuality was given a new lease of life thanks to the book and lyrics created by Duncan Sheik and Steven Slater.
The stories tale of redemption, forgiveness and hope born of love is not a common choice for a schools production but Gordonstoun School have taken on the challenge which works to a degree.
Using a beautiful set made of wooden ladders, and a ring of trees with a cascade of leaves lying around the intimate stage of C-1. There is also a nice live band positioned high up by the lights of the stage giving a good soundscape to the show.
Oscar Macdonald plays the pivotal role of Melchoir the Rebel and succeeds in getting to grips with a highly complex emotional character and is supported by Aynsleigh McGhie as Martha the Abused also shining in an emotive role.
Where the production fails is mainly due to the battle with the sound element, the cast of 14 are all wearing head mic’s even though some of them stick out like a sore thumb with strips of Elastoplast trying to cover black mic cables on white actors. The sound came and went from the speakers and we also had random flashes of moving lights which were quite clearly not part of the action.
The staging of the production meant there was no masking of the wings, and idea which can work if the cast are aware they can be seen and easily pull focus from the stage. Sadly this happened on to many occasions with performers having discussions, costumes being fixed and altered when it clearly was inappropriate and on one occasion an actor went flying over a piece of set.
My particular bug bear is surrounding Rob Luke’s performance as Hanschen, Hanshen is a character coming to terms with his homosexuality and the world around him. What should be deeply emotional and complex coming to terms and showing of love with Simon Dethleffsen character of Ernst is reduced to nothing more that Comedy Fodder which is in stark contrast to Wedekind’s intention.
A production with promise, let down by technical and staging issues and trivialisation of emotional story elements.