27 January 2012

Travelling Light by Nicholas Wright

Maurice Montgomery - Paul Jesson
Tsippa, Moti's aunt - Sue Kelvin
Moti Mendl - Damien Molony
Jacob Bindel, a timber merchant - Antony Sher
Ida, Jacob's wife - Abigail McKern
Aron, Jacob's son - Jonathan Woolf
Itzak, Jacob's son-in-law - Karl Theobald
Anna Mazowiecka - Lauren O'Neil
Josef, foreman at the sawmill - Colin Haigh
Hezzie, a workman - Darren Swift
Mo, a workman - Mark Extance
Rivka, Jacob's daugher - Alexis Zegerman
Nate Dershowitz - Damien Molony
Little Boy - Nell McCann
Ensemble - Tom Peters, Jill Stanford, Geoffrey Towers, Kate Webster

Actors on film
Teacher - Tom Keller
Rabbi - Harry Dickman
Young woman - Julia Korning
Dying man - Michael Grinter
Reb Gershon - Jack Chissick
Reb Korovitz - Jeffry Kaplow
Doctor - Philip COx
Wife - Norma Atallah
Servant - Jill Stanford
Young servant/Granddaughter - Elsie Mortimer
Yeshiva Boys - Tom Allwinton, Roy Baron, Pablo Carciofa, Daniel Kramer, Henry Markham-Hare, Pip Pearce.

Seen at the beginning of it's run in the Lyttelton Theatre via a half price ticket in a surprisingly good seat (row O) despite sitting next to a couple who talked, quizzed, explained crunched and rustled all through it and thought the musical accompaniment to the silent film sequences was a period for uninhibited general debate.They were impervious to the glares from the people in front of them. I'd hate to have watched The Artist in their company.

Well now then. This is a beautiful premise, performed commendably by most of the cast. The tale is a simple one and a little too much of the dialogue targets the lowest common denominator in the audience. Sometimes there is solace in the easily identifiable progress of a piece like this and if it had been any more complicated, I would not have heard it above the din on my neighbours. I was fortunate enough to hear almost all of the filmic witticisms which are varied and many. The explanation for Mr Scher's comedy accent was delicious and completely acceptable. On occasion it strayed dangerously into the area of farce a couple of times which made me a little grumpy but the audience loved it. It was a Friday.

The effort involved in making this very effective set design work is utterly commendable. It's a bugger of a stage to get right and this piece uses the space perfectly. The projection material was wonderfully handled.

I'm not sure it's worked out what it wants to be yet. The audience were loving the comedy and it's fine to make a period piece funny and educational but it was just a bit too trite in places. That said, there wasn't a moment when my thoughts drifted, other than controlling my desire to punch the idiots next to me.