Royal Court: The Victorian in the Wall
Modern Theatre at its best!
I make my way upstairs in the Royal Court Theatre in London and am greeted by the line of a queue stretching right back down the way I had just come. Not a great first sign. Something that has become increasingly popular in theatre is the idea of no reserved seating. You think for the amount you are paying that you would at least be guaranteed a seat next to the person you came with. So first impressions were not great..
I walk into the studio (a large space covered in empty boxes reminiscent of someone who had just moved house). On the floor are markings of a flat.. as if on a blue print. Written in white tape on the floor are the different rooms. Encompassing the stage you have lots of different objects that you would find in any house from recycling bins to red mugs. The actors come on stage and surround the outside whilst the main character Guy(Will Adamsdale) takes us through the back story of the flat. You are thrown immediately headfirst into a glorious mixture of comedy/music and craziness. Guy is a lazy playwright who keeps meaning to do some work but instead find himself watching endless episodes of ‘The Wire’ and ultimately being distracted all day.
Smart and fast right from beginning to end. You follow an out-of-work writer for CBeebies on his journey through the days that his girlfriend is away on a buisness trip. He is left in charge of the rennovating (the knock down of the wall). Needless to say right from the start you know things are going to go wrong.
From singing about the ‘knocking down of a wall’ to the cleverly improvised layout of the flat, this play does not miss a trick.
The play really begins when the ‘Pina Bausch loving’ builder enters the flat to knock down the infamous wall. Taking his position at a piano he plays both the builder working as well as the CBeebies producer asking for the well-overdue script. Whilst working on the wall the builder instructs Guy to tear down the wall paper in the Lounge. He takes one swipe and the face of a man in a Top Hat is revealed. ‘The Victorian’ played by Matthew Steer is introduced as a man caught in a Victorian love story in the past between him and the girl upstairs. You fall in love with the chemistry between the two and enjoy every minute you get to spend with them. Matthew Steer is brilliant as the ‘Victorian in the Wall’, with his adorable naivety to the world around him and his adjustment to the modern world. Will Adamsdale is perfect as the oblivious Writer.
The comedy really takes flight when the African Adopted Child is thrown into the scene. Have you ever received the gift of an adopted Dolphin? Or donated money to a child in Africa? What if that child or in this case a fully grown man turned up on your door with an adoption certificate. The most random and yet the most comprehensible thing to happen-it certainly made me think that the child I had donated to might turn up any minute! Towards the end of the play Guy has an epiphany and decides that he has to ‘do’ something with his life-with the help of The Victorian and his adopted African Man- which results in the ceiling falling down.
The play is utterly brilliant. A perfect example of Modern Theatre at its best. Following the Music Comedy route it succeeds in making the audience laugh and cry. Running at 1hour 45 it is just the right duration and feels like 20 mins.
I would encourage people to get in and see this play as it is not going to be around for long (2 weeks)!!
FOUR stars from me!
- Will Adamsdale captures the alienation of modern living in The Victorian In The Wall (metro.co.uk)
- The Victorian in the Wall, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- A class act: Will Adamsdale satirises the angst-ridden middle classes in his surreal new show (independent.co.uk)
- The Victorian in the Wall – review (guardian.co.uk)
- An Interview with Will Adamsdale, writer and performer of The Victorian in the Wall (bristololdvictheatre.wordpress.com)