"Poor stab at The Alchemist"
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 25/03/10

I have seen some wonderful productions in the tiny Rosemary Branch theatre space but this version of The Alchemist presented by the Theatre of Bray does the Rosie no favours.

Despite a young, energetic and committed cast the play fails to make any sense. The director, a self confessed Jonson lover, has cut the play to the bone and it moves at such a pace that the first half is virtually unintelligible. After the interval the pace slows enough that the audience can actually comprehend that the actors are speaking English although very little flavour of Jonson can be detected.

Despite some uproarious laughter in the front row, The Alchemist (this one at any rate) spectacularly fails to be funny. The concept of squatters in the house of Face's absent master Lovewit pretending to cures for whatever might ail the ill assorted visitors who pass non-stop through the front door to be dispatched to the bedroom upstairs, the kitchen off-stage left, the garden and even a strangely underground privy is supposed to be humorous; played at this speed and in the most bewildering variety of accents, the plot is messy, impossible to follow and despite the shortened text, downright dull.

Full credit to the designer (James Perkins) for a set which sits nicely on the tiny stage and folds round cleverly to show the house's exterior when the master returns. It's great that young professionals just out of drama college(s) can get together to perform the classics; they just need to do it with more control and more care of the wonderful language of Jonson's play.

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