Secret Theatre – Show 2 at the Lyric
If Secret Theatre is all about secrecy, what can be revealed without revealing too much? Curiosity must play an important role in this cleverly conceived and highly publicised project, and expectations are high.
Equally high are the plain white walls that make up the backdrop for the mysterious Show 2, and actors peer over them, climb on them and walk on them; they are a means to escape from others, to maintain a barrier. There is a ladder and a tall box officially serving as a bathroom, but also employed to create the illusion of people and things disappearing. There are suitcases, also used as treasure chests to hide precious things and fragile people. The play in fact revolves on themes of concealment, treachery, fear, surrender and desire.
Desire is explored in multiple guises: the yearning for carnal satisfaction, as well as the longing for sentimental possession, the wish to belong and to be needed. We see how these aspirations are fed and accomplished, but above all we see what their consequences are. The characters are all weak spirits, each revealing themselves by behaving in a different way and it all comes down to fear.
Adelle Leonce portrays a woman who is sometimes afraid of her husband, sometimes tries to stand up to him, but ultimately succumbs to him and the inexplicable, unconditional love she has for him. If Leonce often looks amoebic, it’s probably intentional. Sergo Vares plays the macho man who doesn’t have to try hard to get what he wants because the power he wields is so strong. He does overact though, often seeming contrived and stumbling over his lines. In contrast, Leo Bill is naturally comfortable in his character’s skin. The real star, however, is Nadia Albina who impeccably conveys a whole range of emotions shifting from coquetry to hilarity, from madness to tenderness.
In spite of the dramatic ending and the prevailing tense mood throughout the play, there’s space for wit. Music and sound effects cause the actors to digress in their thoughts and feelings, the songs’ lyrics often accompanying and matching what is going on the stage. Directed by Sean Holmes, this new production of a classic is quite enjoyable. Have a guess on what it is…or even better, go and see it.
The Secret Theatre series is on at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith until 9th November 2013, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a trailer for Secret Theatre here: