The Bridge Theatre’s programming policy is not yet clear, but we can surely look forward to evenings here with more to offer than harmless entertainment.
It’s a clever idea by Richard Bean, to envision a story set when Karl Marx was an impecunious migrant living in the ‘squalor’ of Dean Street in Soho, caught between the pawnbrokers and the bailiff in a hand to mouth existence, and to pair him with his future political ally Friedrich Engels in a sort of knockabout turn like Morecambe and Wise, with a sidelong glance at the actual Marx Brothers.
First things first, the foyer is extremely spacious and rather beautifully lit. So whilst there were hefty queues at the box office and the bar, there was still plenty of room to mill about, some seats available and a wide enough staircase that, when we finally started going down to the stalls, it wasn’t too much of a crush.
It feels important to recognise what the NT (and the Old Vic) were trying to achieve, though. Queer Theatre looked “at how theatre has charted the LGBT+ experience through a series of rehearsed readings, exhibitions, talks and screenings” and if only one looked at lesbian women, two of the readings were written by women.