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A Deed Without a Name


Theatro Technis

A Deed Without a Name

A Deed Without a Name

Theatro Technis

Reviewed – 21st February



“there’s enough hard-working ambition to raise this above merely being an interesting exercise”


Dark, satirical political comedy with a liberal peppering of the absurd ensures a bizarre but entertaining evening at Theatro Technis in Camden.

The spy thriller “A Deed Without a Name” (“Bezimienne dzieło” – also known as “Nameless Work” or “Anonymous Work: Four Acts of a Rather Nasty Nightmare”) was written in 1921 but not published until 1962 and only first performed in 1967.

This fascinating work by the Polish avant garde writer, artist, philosopher and theorist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz is rarely seen so applause is due to the newly-formed Wayward Theatre Productions, who specialise in staging productions of European drama little-known to British audiences.

You might not expect to find a large-scale political and social piece about spies, a working class rebellion against authority, a strange religious cult, artists and family revelations played out in a former church hall in Camden but this is what the extremely capable company pulls off.

There is so much back-stabbing, betrayal and self interest in the play, which also has an authentic common touch, that it could be a cross between “Game of Thrones” and “EastEnders” set against popular revolution.

In truth, not every nail is hit firmly on the head and some of what is going on can be hard to follow but there’s enough hard-working ambition to raise this above merely being an interesting exercise. Several of the cast do not have English as their first language, so there is a colourful cosmopolitan presence throughout in the ensemble performance.

Georgio Galassi, who was inspired casting as Holmes in last year’s “Hound of the Baskervilles” in Abney Park, has brought several of that company with him not only to direct but also as co-translator of the play and starring as the hero Plamonick Blodestaug, the consumptive painter losing his artistic touch and suspected of spying. Galassi never loses sight of the protagonist’s tragic despair as politics and the new order suffocate art and create a world in which he can neither live nor love.

The other translator is Polish-American actress Dorota Krimmel, who has enormous fun as the composer Rosa Van Der Blaast, the hero’s sweetheart, whose affections lie elsewhere, while Sarah J Warren is the bright young painter trying to bring colour to a grey society.

Reed Stokes is both dashing and disagreeable as the Baron who pretends to support a secret religious society in order to overthrow the tyrannical ruling class, though who in reality has more personal ambitions at heart. Gary Cain is suitably weasly as the officer who unwisely pitches in with whoever he feels may be on the winning side.

The production is particularly successful in showing the struggles between the classes and the strata of different ideologies, backgrounds and cultures. Thus Peter Revel-Walsh as a bluff first gravedigger and Jonathan Brandt as the second gravedigger Girtak make the most of their revolutionary down to earth subversive characters who want to bury the old system. Brandt’s sneering underground poet is a chilling example of one who storms to the top on the wave of fresh ideologies, no better than the predecessors they have toppled.

Dan de la Motte’s bored Prince Padoval is gloriously effete, never truly finding purpose until he dons the black hat of the revolutionaries, discovering another pointless direction to travel, while Gerry Skeens maintains a shocked regal dignity as the Princess.

The set (Aurelie Freoua) is a fabulous and colourful artistic mess, with paintings, sheets of verse, violins and materials strewn across the playing area, a symbol of the way of life being rejected.

Hats off to this bright and personable new company for daring to shun the tried and tested in favour of this unlikely romantic action drama from a pioneering Polish commentator who led the way in rewriting theatrical norms and expectations which might otherwise have been overlooked or ignored in this country at this time.


Reviewed by David Guest


A Deed Without a Name

Theatro Technis until 2nd March


Last ten shows reviewed by David:
The Process | ★★★★★ | January 2020
Autoreverse | ★★★★ | February 2020
Bible John | ★★★★ | February 2020
Oddball | ★★★★ | February 2020
On McQuillan’s Hill | ★★★★ | February 2020
The Cobbled Streets Of Geneva | ★★★½ | February 2020
The First | ★★★★★ | February 2020
Syndrome | ★★★★ | February 2020
The Future Is Mental | ★★★ | February 2020
Who Cares? | ★★★★★ | February 2020


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A Flea in her Ear – 3 Stars

A Flea in her Ear

A Flea in her Ear

Theatro Technis

Reviewed – 8th November 2018


“The large cast bounce with energy, but this is sometimes at the detriment of clarity and cohesion”


Parisian housewife, Raymonde Chandebise, doubts her husband’s fidelity after he becomes sexually inactive. Confiding in her closest friend, Lucienne, they concoct a plan to test his loyalty, involving a fictitious letter from a secret admirer. Georges Feydeau’s 20th century farce unfolds between a comfortable study and the notorious hotel Coq d’Or, where a libidinous Persian in the closet and a drunken bed-hopping uncle are ingredients for a raucous romp.

The large cast bounce with energy, but this is sometimes at the detriment of clarity and cohesion. Key plot points expounded in the opening scene are hard to grasp due to diction, audibility and the fast pace of the dialogue. Particularly of note, a mishap with some braces and the function of a moving bed are both integral to the play’s comedic effect but are not given the necessary emphasis by the actors and are easily missed by the audience. The opening scene also fails to establish the relationships between various individuals which prevents the audience from appreciating the hilarity of their entanglement. The opening of the second act of the play is far clearer and is well-received by the audience, aided by the comic intervention of Thomas Witcomb as ex-military hotel manager Ferallion.

Sonoko Obuchi’s vibrant set design clearly distinguishes Chandebise’s house and the vulgar hotel. The set makes full use of the large space at Theatro Technis, which perfectly caters to the characters’ escapades. Watching the set change in the play’s two intervals is a spectacle in itself, with a large team appearing to move furniture and with loud drilling taking place to attach and remove partition walls. While this is a minor issue, it seems slightly unnecessary. A more imaginative set would avoid excessive resets and the inconsistencies in staging that later ensue. Amidst all the mayhem, the actors (understandably) commit a schoolboy error, struggling to uphold the illusion of a corridor which links the bedroom and bathroom door.

A Flea in her Ear is dialogue heavy, but the ensemble presents an excellent feat. Michael Claff as both Chandebise and Poche brings a physical humour to the characters alongside the loveable nephew, Camille, played by James Bruce who gives a standout performance. Although stereotyped, exaggerated characters are key to farce, it would be nice to see more variation between the reactions of the other characters to the ludicrous occurrences. There is lot of shouting and screaming which is quite tiring by the third act and detracts from the humorous rampage of the enraged Spaniard, Hominedes (Andre Pinto).

This absurd farce takes us on a long, chaotic journey with a plot that has the potential to induce uncontrollable laughter. For the audience to appreciate the fantastic dramatic irony of this play, the actors must ensure that the audience is in on the joke. With more attention to this, Acting Gymnasium have the basis for a highly entertaining production.


Reviewed by Beth Partington


A Flea in her Ear

Theatro Technis


Previously reviewed at this venue:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream | ★★ | April 2018
The Misanthrope | ★★ | April 2018
The Seagull | ★★★ | April 2018


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