The Conquest Of The South Pole

The Conquest Of The South Pole

By Manfred Karge
Directed by Nick Bagnall
Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
Until 8th April 2017

Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Photograph of Dean Nolan in The Conquest of the South Pole by Gary Calton

At times this revival of Manfred Karge’s play, written in East Berlin in 1984, is difficult to understand but in some ways that adds to the strangeness of the overall story.

However, you could also argue as to what the point of the play is, in what is the second production featuring the recently reformed repertory company at the Everyman.

In essence four people, so worn down by being unemployed and dependent on welfare payments, fantasise that they are going on a trek to the South Pole to escape their misery.

The burly Slupianek (Dean Nolan) is the group’s leader, and takes on the role of the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, who was the first man to reach the South Pole in 1911, with Captain Scott ending up in second place!

The expedition, bizarrely enough, takes place in one of Slupianek’s friends attic, and even more weirdly, the washing laid out on a line is symbolished as being icebergs.

Symbolism pervades throughout, including rows of empty chairs – am not sure the reason why – and was even more perplexed when Slupianek decided to saw off three legs of two chairs to indicate who knows what….

Within the 12 scenes (some with addendums) There is oddball humour and poetry aplenty, as well as puns galore, for example, snow ones around ie. no one’s around!

But all in all the play is snow big deal!

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