Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Theatre review: Battlefield
And this is very much a piece of storytelling theatre; McNeill, Carole Karemera, Ery Nzaramba and Sean O’Callaghan are the storytellers taking on multiple roles, with a drum accompaniment from Toshi Tsuchitori.
The overall plot sees the new king take over and we follow him for much of his long reign. As well as various supernatural encounters of his own - including meeting the personification of the River Ganges and having a dead ancestor possess his body - we get fables of talking animals and birds, sent to test humans' virtue. The cast are likable, the storytelling - mostly told with the aid of a few blankets and sticks - gentle and simple.
It's a well put-together show but not quite satisfying: It's obvious that this is a fragment of a much greater whole - it feels like we drop in and out of the middle of a soap opera, but this isolated part of the story is still told in quite a rambling style. Beautifully and precisely put together but a bit too nebulous to really care about the characters.
Battlefield by Peter Brook, Marie-Hélène Estienne and Jean-Claude Carrière, based on the Mahabharata and the play by Jean-Claude Carrière, is booking until the 27th of February at the Young Vic.
Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes straight through.
Photo credit: Simon Annand.