Mowgli, a ferocious boy-child raised by wolves in the jungle, has been kicked out of the pack. He’s trying to figure out what to do next when he meets a mysterious creature from another world – or rather, another story.
Tighter dialogue in the latter half and the addition of some physical theatre sequences give this update more sophistication, but a few of the original issues are still there. McNeill, who also directs, shows an inclination towards European theatre aesthetics, but he doesn’t quite go far enough.
A dozen or so of us were led to the roof of the Royal Festival Hall where we were told to expect: ‘A multi-sensory encounter of shifting sound, colour and light, which reinvents the gig-going experience as a site-responsive close-up standing performance.’ Whatever that is.
Even if the audience understands that Macbeth is about somebody who murders the king and sees witches, they still want to grasp what is happening line to line and scene to scene. When a play stretches to over three hours, this can sometimes be a daunting task, for actors as well as directors.
This Hamlet, freshly transferred to the West End from the Almeida, is a slick, beast of a production surpassing three hours. Undeniably contemporary, it does its best to smash the restrictions of the proscenium arch with a celebrity cast and achingly cool, Scandi/corporate design.
What happens when two experimental performance artists join forces with a few kids to make a kids’ show? Utterly delightful, if messy, madness. 1990s Nickelodeon is a clear influence, as are fart jokes, poo, time bending and parallel universes.
Anastasia Zinovieva is a motley clown who wants to reenact Hamlet, but it’s a big story to take on herself. She enlists seven people from the audience to fill the major roles and instructs them as they go – similar to Hamlet’s treatment of the players.
Exchange Theatre sets The Misanthrope in a contemporary newsroom full of gossip, affairs, backstabbing and cocaine-fueled all-nighters. Alceste loathes the way his colleagues behave, but fancies the flirtatious Celimene in spite of his prejudices.