Finborough Theatre – until 29 October 2022
How can such a small item of jewellery create so much chaos and disruption? The blood coloured coral brooch appears to lead the wearer to become obsessed with power and wealth. The Coral makes its first staged performance in one hundred years. The storyline is still relevant in our society and strained family relationships are probably more relatable.
Sacrificing his two daughter’s relationship The Millionaire (Stuart Laing) foolishly believes that encasing them with riches and luxuries will prevent them from the pollution of the outside world and keep them close to him.
Yet when the Older daughter (Joanne Marie Mason) takes a job on a cargo ship in the engine room and their Younger Daughter (Esme Scarborough) decides to become a nurse he is driven further into a demonic trance as his control over their lives is taken away.
The intense start of The Coral creates the foundations between The Millionaire and his doppelganger creation (Adam Woolley). With both actors wearing Red hoods created equality between the characters and they entwine and separate. Even his close Personal Assistant (Ariell Zilkha) unable to tell the pair apart.
I thought Woolley’s performance throughout the play was outstanding in each of his four roles. The Coral is his professional debut and from this performance, I feel he has a strong career ahead of him. Certainly an actor to watch in the future.
Director and adaptation Emily Louizou uses Finborough’s limited space very well. This particular theatre leaves no space for errors. However, the view of one of the main scenes is obstructed though by taking place on the floor on the left-hand side of the stage. This would be better off being more towards the centre although with the desk already in that place it would require some readjustment. Sadly due to the limited view, it dilutes the dramatic impact it should provoke.
The storyline is dark and sinister and this was bought to the stage on many occasions by the demonic look portrayed through Laing’s eyes which is powerful and chilling. At times it felt that he was looking straight through into my core.
Disappointingly, I felt I should have left the theatre feeling more moved and uncomfortable than I did. Reducing some of the dialogue during the darker scenes would add depth to the power of the storyline entwined within the script.
For more information about The Coral now playing at The Finborough please use the links below.
Photo Credit Marshall Stay.