Jermyn Street Theatre, London – until 3 October 2015
This was my first visit to the Jermyn Street Theatre and what a lovely, unusual and intimate space to perform an exciting new show in.
A set of three pieces written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa and all created to challenge and thought provoke fundamental issues. Michael John LaChiusa has used these stories, writing words and music for this production. The show has been produced in the UK by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment.
See What I Wanna See starts each act with the story of Kesa (Cassie Compton) and Morito (Mark Goldthorp) a Japanese tale of woe, lust and death.
The main stories then ensue and whilst I will not give any spoilers they continue along a similar vein. However it is the direction (Adam Lenson) and huge amount of talent that is the real story here. Marc Elliott impressed me with his intensity and drive to engage with the audience ensuring a powerful delivery of his role. In fact reflecting on my notes later I’d noted down he reminded me of a young James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause“.
Cassie Compton along with Mark Goldthorp gave a performance that was worthy of a much bigger space than they were in, which was truly special and powerful. Who do you believe is guilty or at fault, the husband, the wife, innocent bystander, thief? Does a medium have the ability to complete the puzzle? An innovative sexy piece shown from five different angles which is simply mesmerising.
The music seemed at war with itself at times and reminded me of the passion of West Side Story, its this which gives potency of a new, fresh and imaginative complex score. A cacophony of sound creating a potent mixture of thoughts and possible solutions for these flawed, vulnerable individuals. A sublime demonstration by all of the five strong cast of their immense singing abilities.
Sarah Ingram’s two roles as the medium in act one and ailing Aunt Monica in the second were diverse and illustrated her versatility as an accomplished actor brilliantly.
For me the undeniably most thought-provoking was the second act Gloryday of which Jonathan Butterell took the role of the priest. Such was his acting, it brought the questions raised by this piece to the forefront. A challenging and intelligent story which has kept me pondering in the hours since. Everyone is searching for an answer and when you are desperate or vulnerable you can be manipulated to believe anything. I found this story particularly poignant seeing it on September 11th. Whilst there was no direct reference to 9/11, I’m sure I wasn’t the only audience member to make the connection and again bears witness to the power of the storytelling, music, acting and staging.
This is an exciting, innovative and seductive new show. It questions your thoughts, your beliefs and what you actually saw or didn’t see and most importantly raises the question of who is telling the truth?
If you want to be challenged, intrigued and witness some extraordinary performances with new music as well, then you need to see this show.