A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

REVIEW: Woyzeck, Birmingham REP

Thought provoking, intense and incredibly dramatic, it's safe to say Woyzeck is unlike any piece of theatre I have ever seen before.

On stage at Birmingham's REP Theatre until Saturday, 23rd June, Woyzeck is in association with Birmingham International Dance Festival 2018 and combines both theatre and dance in an electric, intense production.

The production follows the story of Woyzeck, who just can't get a break. Although the war has come to an end, he's stuck living in military barracks and is forced to shave his condescending commanding officer everyday and his girlfriend and mother of his child might be having an affair.
To make matters worse, he is now hearing voices. Is he about to crack, or is it all down to the pea-only diet that his doctor is trialing on him in exchange for extra money. However, is the extra money worth the total breakdown he is going through? 

To say that the story line is intense would be a total understatement. From traumatic and downright shocking moments to funny and bittersweet; the production focuses on the current state of the world and what we could expect in the future. As well as picking up on everybody's obsession with sharing their lives on social media, the show also focuses on robots, bullying and so much more. In fact, it's incredible how many topics they mange to fit in to just 90 minutes. 

The set was one of the main highlights of the production for me. The stage was brought out much closer to the rows of people in awe of the show, giving the audience the opportunity to really feel part of the production as it was happening so close. I loved how by bringing the stage closer to the audience, we felt involved. I had never seen that done before, and I was really impressed by it. It was a huge space and the cast took great advantage of it.
The main cast was made up of just two people; Thomas Pickles, who made the role of Woyzeck his own, alongside Jalleh Alizadeh, whose take on the role of Marie totally captivated the audience. 

However, it was the huge ensemble which really made the production what it was. With almost 100 people all on stage at the same time, the stage was brought to life with people from all walks of life. The team behind the production simply looked for an eagerness to be involved from those who auditioned, and they ended up with teenagers to those over seventy who were obviously ecstatic to be part of the production. 

Woyzeck was totally unexpected and a fantastic thought provoking production, but it certainly isn't for the faint-hearted. It does have some incredibly shocking moments, but it also has some hilarious touches that help to balance the show out well. The slight negative I have with the production is that it lacks flow between the scenes and it is easy to lose track of what is going on at parts, but it does require a bit more concentration than your standard show. 

Woyzeck is a must see production - do not miss it! 

Rating: 8/10

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