The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas at the Royal Court Theatre
Writer Dennis Kelly (of Olivier-winning Matilda the Musical fame) brings us darkly comic, contemporary thriller The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, with Royal Court art director turned stage director Vicky Featherstone.
A playfully dark exploration of the psychopathy that powers our world, The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas is billed as “an electrifying dark tale.” With a plot highly relevant in our current financial climate, writer Kelly leads the audience in inimitable style, suffused with darkly twisted Roald Dahl-esque satirical wit, through the life and times of main protagonist Gorge. The play explores the themes of capitalism and materialism that ruled the 80s and 90s and the disintegration of human morality that often accompanies and is even a requirement of such financial success.
The public and the political are made personal through Gorge, gradually transformed by a series of events into what could be effectively defined as a sociopath of terrifying dimensions. Played with awkward intensity by Tom Brooke, we are led through the character’s life from conception through to his professional career – where he learns from fraudulent and hardnosed financier “A” (Pippa Haywood) that the world is his to take, if he only leaves hindrances such as morals behind. It is only when Gorge applies this professional approach to his personal life that we see the terrifying nature of such a philosophy.
A traditional Greek chorus-style narrative is offered by the full cast, filling in the audience on unseen action and adding an extra dimension. The scenery’s change from solid walls to gaping space scattered with dust and boxes reflects Gorge’s moral decay. Then, a stunning mountain landscape is cleverly transformed into a dramatically dipping financial graph in neon lights, symbolic of the loss of the natural beauty of Gorge’s humanity as the play progresses.
Despite the gradual corrosion of Gorge’s morality, and the slow sacrifice of his humanity for personal gain, a glimmer of vulnerability remains – just enough for the audience to recall that such a transformation is a response to the difficulties of life, and draw the unsettling conclusion that this is a trap that anyone can fall into.
However Kelly also reminds us that humanity’s endless struggle towards morality and justice, though meandering and painful, is a noble, valuable pursuit. The ostensibly easier alternative route of amoral materialism, taken by Gorge and many in the capitalist society in which we live, is merely transitive.
The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas is at the Royal Court Theatre until 19th October 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch a trailer for The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas here: