Review: Reptember – Triple Bill B, New Diorama

“I can highly recommend the apricots”

And so to complete the set of triple bills at the New Diorama, Programme B of The Faction’s Reptember saw my third trip in quick succession to this most friendly of theatres, tucked away near Warren Street station and possessing some of the loveliest people working there. My mood was further enhanced by this proving to be my favourite of the three shows, demonstrating the greatest variety of style and mood in the solo performances that have made up this rep season. Programme A was also strong and if Programme C wasn’t quite my cup of tea, any issues I felt it had were more than compensated for here.

First up is Lachlan McCall in The Man With The Flower In His Mouth written by Pirandello and adapted and directed here by Faction AD Mark Leipacher. McCall is the perfect choice from the ensemble for this ruminative piece, his ruffled everyman demeanour suits the gentle rhythm of this late night interaction between his character and a man who’s missed the last train. The role of the other guy is taken by a video camera into which McCall speaks, the image being projected onto the back wall thereby co-opting us all into the reveal of the depths of his melancholy soul. It’s subtle but becomes most moving.

That’s then followed by a fierce riff on Euripides’ Medea by Emily Juniper, handing associate artist Shakuntala Ramanee a gem of a reinterpreted role as we see the scorned woman in the midst of creating the fatal wedding gift that will seal the fate of so many. Juniper completely reshapes in the narrative to create something fascinatingly different, even the dress itself has a say in the matter, and Ramanee revels in the jagged spikes in temperament that make this an extraordinary piece to watch (through some nifty lighting) and to listen to (in the gorgeous timbre of Ramanee’s voice).

Last up is a hugely physical performance from Tom Radford in Gareth Jandrell’s take on Kafka’s Metamorphosis where a non-descript office worker starts to undergo a queasy transformation that changes not only his life but that of the family who depend on his support. Director Rachel Valentine Smith keeps things delightfully macabre from the off and really encourages Radford to throw his whole, nicely toned, body into the work, literally climbing the walls as the change fully takes hold. It’s a striking end to a programme which engaged me fully and which I’d recommend over the others if you’re thinking of just taking one of the triple bills in

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 20th September

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