"Original idea but too short"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 03/06/18

“Report to an Academy” is a short two-handed adaptation of Fraz Kaftka’s short story, running at the Baron Court Theatre, and directed and produced by Irrelevant Theatre’s Xinxi Du and Tianxin Tian. Red Peter (Nour-ani Sisserian and Polly Waldron), is an ape, originally from Africa’s Gold Coast (modern day Ghana) who is captured by an expedition. After being captured he is gradually taught how to behave like a human, so he they can make money by exhibiting him in public. The process ends up being so successful that he ends up giving a presentation himself to a learned academy (hence the title).

Both Sisserian and Waldron are good actors and they perform the story in a moving way, demonstrating Peter’s transformation by alternating roles halfway through the piece. The problem is that the entire production lasts only thirty-five minutes from start to finish. The truncated length means that while the piece would have worked well alongside another short play, or as part of a wider evening’s entertainment, it is simply too short for an entire show. It’s good to see theatre companies taking risks with lesser known works, but ultimately this production has a limited appeal beyond fans of Franz Kaftka enthusiasts.

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