Menier (and despite a first-class cast) it doesn't have a
ready-for-the-West-End feel, and your full enjoyment of the evening may
require a small lowering of expectations.
forestalls any criticism of modest production values by setting his
version of the H.G. Wells tale of a scientific experiment gone wrong
and its effect on a small village in the frame of an early-20th-century
Music Hall company performance.
for that, you are likely to find the painted backdrops, minimal sets
and especially the magical effects - props floating in mid-air as held
by the invisible man, pages turning in a newspaper, milk disappearing
from a glass, and the like - a bit half-hearted and disappointing, and
there's too much reliance on actors miming being pulled around or
punched by the unseen assailant for the gimmick to be convincing.
seems to have been unsure of the tone he wanted - playing it straight,
sending it up as Music Hall melodrama, or using it as a springboard for
interpolated gags in the mode of the current production of The 39 Steps
- and so we get a little of each, sometimes cleverly, too often just
keeping us from knowing how we're meant to react.
of the best
value-added gags has the cast obviously turn their backs to us to make
the gabbling noise of an offstage mob every time a door is opened in
one scene - had there been a lot more of that, the show would have been
a lot more fun.
performances by Christopher Godwin, Teddy Kempner, Geraldine Fitzgerald
and Natalie Casey, shamelessly broad ones by Gary Wilmot and Maria
Friedman, and an appropriately hardly-noticeable one by John Gordon
Sinclair in the title role.
Return to Theatreguide.London home page.
- The Invisible Man - Menier 2010