Review: The Wolf at the Door, Royal Court

“We had to plump for M16s for the altos because they have a tendency to get a bit flappy, the last thing they needed was an easily jammable firing mechanism”

Despite the alluring thrill of this note on the webpage for the show – “Special thanks to Real Lancashire Eccles Cakes for their donation to this production” – for one reason or another it has taken me until practically the end of the run to finally get along to Rory Mullarkey’s The Wolf from the Door at the Royal Court.

And to be honest, I have to say it would have been no great loss had I missed it. Mullarkey posits a world in which the middle classes are a seething mass of discontent and an aristocrat is spearheading a movement for radical change that taps right into it, cue beheadings in Tesco, marauding morris dancers and a fully armed WI. An arresting concept but one which increasingly reveals itself to have little to say, a particularly disappointing ending the cherry on this barely-risen cake.

Fortunately then, James Macdonald’s production has a wonderfully sprightly energy about it in Tom Pye’s cleverly minimalist design which is as much a commentary on the world against which Lady Catherine is reacting as anything. And it is also blessed with the kind of casually luxury casting that the Royal Court does so well – Anna Chancellor blisteringly good, Calvin Demba a youthful foil and the experienced hands of Sophie Russell and Pearce Quigley the perfect choice for a fast whirl of considerable multi-roling.

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