Saturday, September 30, 2006

"My Dark Sky" - September 2006

The story of the White Rose group who provided resistance to Hitler's policies within Germany is one that has an attraction for Waldorf, but for me theatre is for entertaining and I was struggling to see that I would get much "enjoyment" from this tale which couldn't end well.

So, I'm pretty surprised to be able to say that I found it a very enjoyable performance, as despite the dark themes and fates of the characters the legacy of their actions was made clear and tone of the ending a positive one. While the acting was of a good standard generally, it was Nicola Jo Cully excellent performance as Sophie Scholl who kept a more positive element throughout the narrative. Stewart Ennis as the older Wilhelm also brought a different dynamic to the group and his measured performance contributed greatly to the success of the show. A very welcome decision was for the cast to avoid going down the line of performing in German accents - a mistake that is far too often made and just proves distracting to the audience.

The story is well told and we have depth to the characters and are given insights into their motivations, their differing views and how they deal with the risks they take - these are clearly defined individuals, not just a generic group of people with a common cause. The only aspect of the writing I'd query was the romantic element which was really just a distraction - I would have been far more interested in the internal recriminations within the group about the decisions that lead to their arrests.

The show makes excellent use of their "stage" and the implementation of their graffiti handiwork is very impressively done, as are the audio visual elements. The set piece finale to the show is perfectly worked and ensures the audience leave on a high (and very grateful they don't have to stay and clean up!)

I've seen some reviews that while not harsh, haven't given this show the credit I think it deserves - there seems to be a snobbish prejudice against the show due to the fact that it is designed to be toured through schools as part of the curriculum. Don't let that take anything away from what is a powerful show with some powerful performances and some memorable images. It's a story that deserves to be told well, and Reeling & Writhing have done it proud. We saw this at the end of the run at the Tramway but there are several performances at venues around Scotland in October and November - if there is one near you give it a go, even if "serious" drama isn't normally your kind of thing.

1 Heckle

Waldorf said...

As Statler has said I was the driving force behind us going to this one. I was also the one meant to be writing the review.

The reason I didn't is because I felt I couldn't be fair to it. My head just wasn't in the right space. I don't think it was anything related to the play, but I just lost focus and couldn't get it back.

Maybe it was the nice dinner I'd just had, and that it was the end of a long day and the seats were just too comfy.

Maybe it was the man directly behind me, who was old enough to know better, who had texted through the first 5 minutes. And then proceed to kick my chair every so often - he also tapped his feet along with the Schubert...

Maybe it was the extremely noisy floor of the set (which was otherwise excellent) which had me grinding my teeth as the actors walked across it. If I have one valid criticism it would be that one - please sort it guys.

I did enjoy tonight, but I'm disappointed because I didn't enjoy it as much as I felt I should. However that's more to do with me than the performances.