Review- Inherit the Wind- Aurora Theatre

  9-1-16

By: Lizzi Wood

 

Upon entering the space my attention was immediately drawn to the three large flats, up stage centre, made to resemble church stained glass windows with a large crucifix taking central glory of the beautiful design. A flat on either side of the stage depicted a bakery and a wall which had been written on, which honestly speaking, looked a bit inconsistent but I awaited the show to start to pass my final judgement.

 

The show began with two, sweet children playing. The boy, typically ‘boyish’, trying to get the girl to hold worms and the girl, typically ‘girlish’, squeals and runs away from him. These two young performers deserve a mention for being great actors and professional throughout the show. The following scene introduced the split level performance space; the lower part was set as the court room and the upper part somewhere in the town square. The split levels allowed for an extra entrance and exit point in the downstage center, which created an interesting 3rd dimension away from the conventional stage left and right exits. It also created a slightly problematic situation where late audience members after the interval were walking into the space alongside the actors entering the courtroom. 

 

The first scene, in the lower level, introduces the love connection between Bertram Cates, the teacher accused of unlawful teaching about evolution, and Rachel Brown, Cates’ colleague and the daughter of Reverend Jeremiah Brown. Namrata Bindra, playing Rachel, had great energy and stage presence, her difficulty was believable but she needed to work on her projection. I was often unable to decipher what she was saying as her voice was quite soft. Ivan Idzik, playing Cates, had great projection and clarity. His tall physical presence, towering above the rest, aided the portrayal of him as an outcast. 

 

The next scene, on the upper level, introduces the townspeople who are awaiting the arrival of Matthew Brady- the prosecutor of the trial. Some of the townspeople are rather comical characters and add some much needed light hearted moments to an otherwise rather intense story. Notable standouts include Nikhil Mordis’ as the Bible seller, Lara-Jane Owen’s busy body and Jonathan Benarr’s, well... stupidity! 

 

Joseph Adrian Angelakis, playing Brady, performed with all the charisma and charm I would expect Brady to have to win over these people and be sucked in by him. His charm allowed him to manipulate their thoughts and beliefs easily. Later when his demise came about he played the transition well. I enjoyed watching him slip quickly from power, unable to deal with not being revered by his followers and losing control. David Mersault, playing Henry Drummond, who was brought in for the defence, performed brilliantly. He was very natural, believable and engaging. He projected his voice loudly and clearly, as did Angelakis. 

 

After seeing the entirety of the play and looking back, the bakery still didn’t work for me. I think would have worked better with something more ambiguous like a perspective view of a row of shops or houses. I was a little disappointed that when the beautiful stained glass windows were lit up it also made the silhouette of the wooden frame behind very prominent. This, for me, spoilt the effect of the glass. However, they came into great effect later during the Reverend's service where his congregation was depicted using silhouettes on the windows. I felt like this moment could have been a little neater in spacing of the actors, but it was a clever way to create the congregation without repeating the same kind of seating pattern as within the court and took away the need for clunky scene changes.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and really found myself rooting for the defence. Why should one person’s book and belief be of any less value or worth than another’s? The piece certainly made me think and certainly made me feel something, not just feel something but feel strongly about something and, in my opinion, any piece of theatre that makes you think and feel is a great success.

 

Inherit the Wind is playing through January 10th. For more information, click here. 


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review, theatre, hongkong

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 4.3


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