Tag Archives: Mayou Trikerioti

The Process

The Process

★★★★★

The Bunker

The Process

The Process

The Bunker

Reviewed – 18th January 2020

★★★★★

 

“a haunting wake-up call to a society already trapped in a nightmare of its own creation”

 

Language, communication, understanding, conformity, politics, brutal bureaucracy, deafness and the future of a nation are the unlikely bedfellows in a scorching new drama at the Bunker Theatre.

Sarah Bedi’s powerful The Process hits its targets again and again, leaves the audience on the edge of their seats, and may even send them out weeping.

The artistic twist of this piece, which Bedi also directs with flair, is that it is presented in spoken English and British Sign Language. It is a clever device because it means that, but for a very small number in the audience, there are chunks of the play that will not be comprehended fully.

It may be a cliché to describe any drama set in a future dystopian society as resembling the TV series Black Mirror, but in this case it only scratches the surface of a thriller that will evoke shock, anger and even uncomfortable laughter.

From the outset we are told via a bleak projection that some will understand some things, some will understand different things and nobody will understand everything – that is how it is meant to be. What follows is a striking and often scary representation of a society that has become too clever for its own good, rating anyone not fitting in to a precise mould as troublesome or beneath respect.

The central characters in The Process are D/deaf but as a horrifying double climax makes clear it’s as much about the foreigner, the homeless, the poor, the uneducated, the disabled – in fact anyone who doesn’t fit neatly into a preconceived and comfortable package.

The scenario is “the day after tomorrow” with strong hints of a post-Brexit apocalypse. Tech wizard Jo (a blistering and robust performance from Jean St Clair) has created a cost efficiency app which monitors one’s value in society. Contribute too little for the benefit of those around you and you become a Null, a worthless member of the community destined to be locked away and forgotten.

The entrepreneur rapidly finds her personal life and that of those close to her spiralling downwards, with attempts to be heard and understood heartlessly ignored and her own invention turned against her.

This is a strong ensemble piece with all the other actors variously compelling in several roles. William Grint, Catherine Bailey, Ralph Bogard, George Eggay and Erin Siobhan Hutching find humour and subtle shades as the tension builds.

The set, an austere backdrop of impersonal and foreboding cells by Mayou Trikerioti, is cold and unyielding. The discompassionate picture is helped by the hums and throbs of a constant rich soundscape (Oliver Vibrans) and noteworthy lighting/video (William Reynolds).

This fourth full length project from BAZ Productions is not without its flaws – there are moments when the action cracks on a shade too rapidly at the expense of coherence and sometimes belief has to be suspended beyond normal bounds of acceptability – but the gritty credibility and the bold audacity in writing, directing and performances quickly outweighs them.

The Process is uncompromising in its dark message. It is the sort of timely and quality experimental production that makes you desperate for the Bunker to stay open and keep tackling such important issues through drama rather than having to close in the Spring for site redevelopment.

It offers a haunting wake-up call to a society already trapped in a nightmare of its own creation. If we fail to communicate with or attempt to listen to each other then this imagined stark future can only become a grim reality.

We don’t need to understand everything to respond and this stimulating and visionary production could be the first step in mending civilisation.

 

Reviewed by David Guest

Photography by Paul Biver

 


The Process

The Bunker until 1st February

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Fuck You Pay Me | ★★★★ | May 2019
The Flies | ★★★ | June 2019
Have I Told You I’m Writing a Play About my Vagina? | ★★★★ | July 2019
Jade City | ★★★ | September 2019
Germ Free Adolescent | ★★★★ | October 2019
We Anchor In Hope | ★★★★ | October 2019
Before I Was A Bear | ★★★★★ | November 2019
I Will Still Be Whole (When You Rip Me In Half) | ★★★★ | November 2019
My White Best Friend And Even More Letters Best Left Unsaid | ★★★★ | November 2019
The Girl With Glitter in Her Eye | ★★½ | January 2020

 

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Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
★★★★

Rose Theatre Kingston & UK Tour

Captain Corellis Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Rose Theatre Kingston & UK Tour

Reviewed – 1st May 2019

★★★★

 

“the musical interludes are moments of beauty that complement the theatricality and flair of this evocative production”

 

The scale of Louis de Bernières’ visionary novel “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” is probably the main reason why it has taken a quarter of a century for it to be adapted for the stage. The multi layered and varied style of the epic narrative is a daunting prospect, but Rona Munro’s adaptation pinpoints the core of the story and, with a surgeon’s precision, cuts away the excess flesh to expose the rhythms of its passionately beating heart.

Director Melly Still’s adventurous production comes in two distinct parts. The first act comprises a series of finely composed vignettes that not only encapsulate the sultry atmosphere of the Greek island of Cephalonia, but serve also to set up the characters. At first we wonder at the hotchpotch of accents on display (from Irish, Welsh and Yorkshire through to RP) but soon realise the deliberate ploy to challenge stereotypes. We are not being asked to pass judgement, or decide who is the enemy, but to focus on the personalities.

Dr. Iannis (Joseph Long) has brought up his daughter, Pelagia (Madison Clare), on a diet of free thinking, which is now being threatened by the Italian occupation of their island. Meanwhile Carlo (Ryan Donaldson), an Italian soldier, tries to make sense of the invasion. Likewise, Captain Corelli (Alex Mugnaioni), an accomplished musician who carries his mandolin everywhere with him, only takes music, friendship and romance seriously. A reluctant soldier, armed with only his charm and his love of music, he is able to win the heart of Pelagia by his refusal to believe in the Italian invasion of Greece.

Although he doesn’t appear until the end of the first act, Mugnaioni lights up the stage with his strong presence, albeit a touch passionless. His slightly bumbling Englishness contrasts Clare’s feisty Pelagia who soon recognises his detachment to the military cause. But there is also a similar detachment to the relationship which, once ignited, burns slowly. More rounded is the relationship with Pelagia’s first love, Mandras (a brilliantly assured Ashley Gayle), that reveals the complexities of lost love in a more believable fashion.

The central theme of war, though, casts its shadow like an impending storm until it explodes with its full force after the interval. Mayou Trikerioti’s design comes to the fore as her simple yet evocative set of beaten metal morphs from the shimmering idyll of a Grecian seascape into the harsh smoky barrage of the battlefield. Jon Nicholls’ thumping sound echoes the waves of dance-like movement of George Siena’s choreography. The contrast is all too pertinent when, at a stroke, it overlaps with the relative peace of the village and the minutiae of their lives. And it is the finer details of these individuals that captivates most. Not just the people, but the animals too – Luisa Guerreiro threatens to steal each scene as the herb-chomping, affable goat while Elizabeth Mary Williams hangs upside down from a ladder as Psipsina, the athletic pine martin.

But there’s another clue in the title. And, yes, Alex Mugnaioni plays the mandolin exceptionally well. Superimposed onto Harry Blake’s pre-recorded score the musical interludes are moments of beauty that complement the theatricality and flair of this evocative production.

 

Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Marc Brenner

 

Captain Corelli's Mandolin logo

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Rose Theatre Kingston until 12th May then UK Tour continues

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde | ★★ | February 2018
Much Ado About Nothing | ★★★★ | April 2018
Don Carlos | ★★ | November 2018
The Cat in the Hat | ★★★ | April 2019

 

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