Exploring the hypothesis that another person took Bonaparte’s place on the island of Elba, Napolean Disrobed (which is directed by Kathryn Hunter) has a premise that is inspired by likes of Alexander Dumas.
Told by an Idiot’s stage adaptation of Simon Leys’ acclaimed counter to the-great-man-of-history novella The Death of Napoleon though asks the useful question that gels nicely with the common stock of our age of conspiracy theories and ‘fake news’. What if…?
There’s a lot to like about Napoleon Disrobed at the Arcola Theatre, but its focus on getting laughs in individual moments means the narrative arc is neglected. Only a little work is needed to tighten up the script and give the story more substance, as the core ideas are sound ones.
Mainly, Told by an Idiot’s Napoleon Disrobed is an evening of absurd fun; enjoyable, clever and performed with tongue-in-cheek gusto.