CONTAINS LOUD NOISES, HAZE, SMOKING, STRONG LANGUAGE,
ADULT MATERIAL AND VIOLENCE. NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN OR THE EASILY OFFENDED
(PG rated by the venue).
Ends 31st December 2017.
Captioned performance: 2nd December 2017 at 2.30pm
Audio Described performance: 16th December 2017 at 2.30pm (Touch Tour 1pm)
Dean Street, Soho, 1850. Karl Marx is 32, no cash, no words flowing and
men after seducing his wife. Will he go to work on the railway? Or opt
for a drunken night out?
Rory Kinnear takes the title role, with Oliver Chris as Engels. Nancy
Caroll plays Jenny and Laura Elphinstone is Nym.
Nicholas Hytner directs a Richard Bean play to open the new theatre
(seen at the afternoon performance on 5th November 2017).
New theatre, and this is clearly an auditorium that loves laughter. It amplifies
and reflects it back to the actors, who in turn revel in the appreciation.
there's a fair amount in this chaotic series of sketches about the life of Karl
Marx in London. Think a lesser "Blackadder" pastiche and you'll be almost there.
Kinnear (Marx) and Chris (Engels) are clearly a double-act, a sadly
under-developed theme - but one that gains poignancy when the latter is required
to take responsibility for the former's infidelities (nice victim performance
from Laura Elphinstone as Nym). Nancy Caroll's long-suffering wife Jenny is a
joy too, under-written but with an amused forbearance that is engaging.
Among the ensemble, Duncan Wisbey's pawnbroker opening is notable, as is
Joseph Wilkins's thwarted Sergeant Savage. Tony Jayawardena makes a nicely
trecherous doctor, and Eben Figueiredo a naive Konrad. And there is maximum
comedy from terrific Alana Ramsey as a savvy whelk-stall owner (probably her
day-job when not acting, going by her abilities in that area - she certainly
runs it better than a government could).
Taken as a whole, it all wobbles, as if unsure whether to be a documentary or
full-blown parody. Terrifically funny scenes at home and on the street are
interspersed with more laboured ones, though the funeral sequence had an added
poignancy in that Marx's deceased young son Guido (named for the conspirator)
was born on 5th November. The second half rather peters out, as if, having
established the characters and chaotic lifestyle, Bean can't find further things
to do with them and thus settles down to book writing.
That said, it moves along swiftly enough in the two hour long segments, and
if judged purely on atmosphere, evoking the times and the general quality of
both production and ensemble performances, it's worth a glance. As a
demonstration of where this theatre will go in the future, the monkey is