What would you do if you were sent an invite for a show shrouded in secrecy, and set on a secret island? Accept of course! There’s a sense of enquiry that takes the mind as attempts are made to figure out what the show could possibly be. The Secret Theatre trend, that has seen the Lyric Hammersmith host an array of shows to mixed reviews is a theatrical movement set to breathe life into the theatrical form.
Bewildered by the very notion of crossing a bridge from Canning Town station to the secret location, the need to know what the production is strengthens. Led to the bar, my mind questions whether the production has actually started, and that it is in actual fact a piece of undercover political theatre, or if the audience are going to be served to a traditional piece of theatre presented on a stage. Neither are correct, as the production takes the form of promenade, the audience walk around the island to various locations.
As soon as the first lines are uttered, it’s apparent as to what the production is. It’s a well known classic that has survived the centuries to still be considered one of the greatest works ever written. The opening iconic scene shatters the mystique of the piece, taking the traditional tale and placing a very topical lense onto the characters involved. This captivates the audience as to what will happen next. Characters of the piece however do not reach their full potential. Speeches feel like warm, a means to get from one part of the script to the next.
The playwright is renowned for encapsulating the human condition into verses, however this is not at all respected and lost in translation. The piece suffers from a lack of editing, and at 2 hours and 30mins, the production loses its energy. I should be left heartbroken by the production’s conclusion, however I’m left not at all affected by the character’s actions and consequences that follow.
This is a play renowned for the amount of loss that is endured throughout, however the stakes are not at all high enough, the production continually stays on the same energy level. The production’s saving grace is the use of settings on the island. I just wish that the production and performances matched this! 2/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Secret Theatre is currently showing on the Secret Island until Tuesday 1st August. For more information on the production, visit here…