Scott Roberts’ adaptation of Wedekind’s Pandora’s Box and Earth Spirit has resulted in
Lulu is a clever and worthwhile play dealing with difficult issues that was let down by its slight drop off in the second act
Lulu (Lizzie Stanton) is introduced to us as a clever and manipulative seductress who uses the men she encounters to get whatever she wants. Is this the real Lulu? The appearance of Lulu’s menacing father (Gordon Foggo) makes it apparent that all is not as it seems. The first act mixes tragedy with farce, as Lulu’s first two husbands are dispatched. Schoning (brilliantly played by Samuel Dutton) is the true ringmaster as Lulu goes from one man to another at his instigation. Kasha Goodenough as Lulu’s maid Hattie provides the comic element as the first act draws to a close and the final scene drew much laughter from the small but responsive audience.
With the light box placed in the centre of the stage throughout the performance, the lighting design was used to great effect with cleverly lit shadows being utilised very successfully and the cast move themselves and the props around the stage between scenes in well-choreographed, near seamless, movements.
The mood in the second act soon turns much darker as Lulu’s options for survival sink to levels of desperation and despair. She is in trouble and all those around her are now feeding off her. Strangely, despite the disturbing themes and the scenes that are quite difficult to watch, I found the second act less engaging than the first. The choreography was not as effective and even a little clumsy at times, which resulted in a loss of focus from the audience. I started to find the incidental music irritating, rather than dramatic and found myself not as moved by the tragic events as I would have expected. However, the cast continued to play their parts well with most of them playing multiple parts with seamless transitions.
Lulu is a clever and worthwhile play dealing with difficult issues that was let down by its slight drop off in the second act. However, the production was clever and very impressive which I’m sure, with time, will continue to develop throughout its run.