No Wise Men
Written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson
Directed by Gemma Bodinetz
4th December 2010 - 15th January 2011
This inventive and bizarre production by Peepolykus is very different
from traditional seasonal fare, even though it incorporates a mixture
of Christmas tales.
One of the most notable features is the highly imaginative stage design
(designer Jon Bausor deserves a special thumbs up), which incorporates
sliding panels, doors and layers, and lends an added surreal quality to
the magical events taking place on stage.
There are many disparate elements in the production: there are strong
references to Oliver Twist, together
with Nancy, A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful
Life, and most predominantly Hans Christian Andersen's The
Little Match Girl.
This pick and mix method generally worked successfully, though quite
what Oliver Twist has to do with Christmas
is a mystery. Scrooge would have been more appropriate - what with the
ghosts within the story, etc.
After a pedestrian start the six cast members of Peepolykus - renowned
for their extraordinary parody of The Hounds
Of The Baskervilles at the Playhouse - get into full comic mode
during the second part with various crazy antics and storytelling of an
No Wise Men centres around Jack (John
Nicholson) - a scheming, selfish individual - who has had his identity
taken over by a enigmatic figure Murray (Javier Marzan) after he fails
to fulfil a solemn promise to him.
Through this interchange Jack is vividly shown the errors of his ways,
through a number of madcap sequences, including being transported back
to Victorian England.
Director Gemma Bodinetz (she also merits a special thumbs up!) ably captures
the spirit of Christmas - though I am not sure how tongue in cheek she
felt about the project.