'WOYZECK', performed by Slot Machine, at Kennet School, on Thursday, June 14
If you ever thought young people shouldn't be asked to tackle 'difficult' drama, you should see Slot Machine, part of the Shining Lights Theatre Company.
They proved yet again with their performance of 'Woyzeck' that if a director expects and
inspires them to brilliance, they will deliver. Pete Watt's adaptation of Buchner's play was an hour and 20 minutes or so of totally gripping drama, and a most impressive piece of ensemble work. The entire cast were on stage throughout, and the peripheral characters were
just as focused and involved as those centre stage, with some beautifully devised tableaux. No-one detracted from the central action, rather they complemented it
Paul Kerry was superb as Woyzeck, rushing "through the world like an open razor", wounded and destructive, unable to deal with his lot except by lashing out, especially at the lovely
Marie, played by Francesca Tambini. She too was an unhappy soul, seeking her raison
d'etre in the arms of soldiers, and occasionally showing sweet maternal warmth towards her son.
The child was portrayed through excellent puppetry by Amy Phillips and Sophie
Hicklin, totally captivating and believable.
James Elliott, Stuart Hunter and Carl Stallwood all gave clear, strong performances as the Captain, the Doctor and the Sergeant respectively, and Joe Thorpe, and Daniel Sherratt were remarkable Shadows of
The fight scenes and Marie's death were quite simply superb, combining a high degree of controlled physicality with perfect timing to produce extremely powerful theatre.
I think it's the first tune I've ever been in an audience where everyone was so totally engrossed in what was going on on stage. No-one moved, or coughed, and there was a tangible feeling of tension as
Woyzeck was stained by Marie's blood.
No surprise, then, that the company has been invited to perform at the New York International
Fringe Festival this summer. And no surprise that the degree of commitment and support they enjoy meant that over £2,000 was raised that evening, largely through an auction of celebrity memorabilia. Get ready, New York. The great Brits are coming!