Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Theatre review: The Rover, or, The Banish'd Cavaliers
I have very little to say about Natalie York's production really as it's rather bereft of ideas. There's nothing wrong with a minimalist staging but I never got any sense of location or character background, so the storytelling is very fuzzy for way too long. Apart from a general tendency to mug there's been little put into the comedy, which consequently fails to raise a smile, let alone a laugh. And The Rover is a play with quite a sinister side (for instance Georgina Morrell's Florinda spends almost all her time trying to avoid being raped) but both the broader comedy and the darker touches are dealt with in the same dispassionate way by York. Despite the amount of time the characters spend in masks there's no whiff of a carnival atmosphere - in fact the only decoration of this rather soulless performance space is a stage covered in straw, presumably evoking a generic old-timeyness but hardly conveying the impression of a 17th century red light district (and it's as welcome a sight to a hayfever-suffering audience member as you would imagine.) There's a couple of decent performances in there, a lot of dodgy ones and one gobsmackingly bad one, but overall this seems to me a potentially sparkling play transformed into a dreary evening.
The Rover, or, The Banish'd Cavaliers by Aphra Behn is booking until the 25th of August at the New Diorama Theatre.
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes including interval.