Man to Man
Wilton’s Music Hall
Reviewed – 13th September 2017
“Maggie Bain gave a strong physical performance and was instantly captivating as the courageous widow”
Man To Man is showing at Wilton’s Music Hall, a beautiful atmospheric building which hosted a packed out first night, including a few famous theatre and film faces dotted amongst the audience. Clearly this was a show not to be missed.
The story is that of Ella, a woman forced to impersonate her dead husband during the Third Reich, in order to survive the challenges of life in Nazi Germany. Maggie Bain gave a strong physical performance and was instantly captivating as the courageous widow.
Innovative lighting effects (Rick Fisher) combined with moving shadows and video complimented the translated script (Alexandra Wood) well. Creative transitional lighting and sound (Mike Walker) helped to convey clear scene changes in this strong one woman piece. Frequent accent switches highlighted the snappy pace the script moves at for the audience, who in the first ten minutes may have been a little confused by alternating accents, of which none are German. Additionally, odd snippets of script seemed to be strewn together in a hard to follow order – don’t worry though as it all makes much more sense by the end.
Precise direction (Bruce Guthrie & Scott Graham) allowed Bain to make full use of the sloped stage, climbing the walls and rearranging the furniture. A flexible set (Richard Kent) allowed such versatility and took the audience from city apartment, to battlefield and back with ease.
Approximately two thirds of the way through, the script appeared to allow Bain to come to a natural close on stage. But as the pace slowed, the actor then continued exploring her life as a man in to further decades. I felt the audience shuffle and sigh as they approached the last twenty minutes. A real shame considering how magnetising the rest of the production is. Overall though, an interesting story performed strongly by a woman to watch. Well worth a visit.
Reviewed by Lucy Marsh
Photography by Polly Thomas
MAN TO MAN
is at Wilton’s Music Hall until 23rd September