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Everyman tale suffers from a multitude of sins


Review by David Munro

EVERYMAN sets out to be an allegory as to how human nature with its sins and vices can defeat death.

This cynical reversal of reality is set in a seedy tourist hotel, a mile or so inland from the Costa De Sol.

The hotel is presided over by Anastasia / death who welcomes six tourists stranded by their tour company.

She tells them she is their tour hostess, and they vent their spleen on her for their lost holiday thereby stripping her, literally, of her power and immortality.

Each member of the tour is supposed to represent one of the vices - greed, sloth envy, etc, although, as neither the performances nor the script, such as it is, gives any clear indication which one was which, most of the hour and a half this piece runs is spent by them demonstrating the type of behaviour which has become sadly synonymous with the behaviour of the British abroad.

They eat, drink. cavort about making love and otherwise indulging themselves in vulgar excesses deriving more from bad manners than any classical symbolism.

A lot of the time, mercifully, they do this in mime, as when they speak the dialogue, it is a painful mixture of metaphysical speech and platitude, none of which is delivered with any aptitude or attempt at vermisilimitude.

In fact, the cast, as a whole, give more the impression of ill-behaved children on an outing, than the personification of human frailties.

The author of this puerile parable is one Goran Stefanovski, who, according to his programme notes, comes from Macedonia.

The ancient Greeks may have had an aptitude for mythical tale telling, the moderns, on this example, have not.

The cast clearly could not cope with what they were required to do or portray. The order of the day seemed to be when in doubt screech out your lines quickly, and squirm about as though suffering an urgent call of nature, rather than of Thespis.

I am sure they would have been much happier in a play, in which they understood what they were supposed to be and doing, which last night, they clearly did not.

Any modicum of talent they may have possessed was quickly suppressed by the director, Sandy Maberely, who gave them moves and attitudes which obviously he felt were deeply meaningful, although I failed to find any meaning in them that was anything other than risible.

This Everyman is like the metaphorical little girl, only this was never ever very good but certainly when it was bad it was horrid.

Everyman: An Immorality Play, by Goran Stefanowski; Director, Sandy Maberley; Designer, Zoe Wilcox;
Costumes, Julie Bowles; Lighting, Geraint Pugh.
CAST: Sharon Aviva Jones; Clare Kissane; Tom Leick; Mike Levanzin; Tanya Munday; Richard Oldham; Helen Terry.
Producer, Theatre Melange.
Riverside Studios, Crisp Road, Hammersmith, W6.
May 12 – 30, 2004. Tuesday – Sunday evenings 8pm – No Monday Performance.
Box Office 020 8237 1111.

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