Woyzeck

I had anticipated a stunningly original production of Woyzeck by the Theatre Oikos company, considering their level of fringe experience and the quality of their text. However, in reality, I found their performance to be utterly disappointing.Thinking back, I wonder if they had some problems with casting. Buchner’s play was one of the first of its kind, during the era of Pushkin and Chekhov, to delve into the minimal toils of the ‘ordinary man’. Woyzeck, the protagonist, is a malnourished, hallucinatory foot soldier, being experimented on by the army doctor, who makes him eat nothing but peas. He is the general dogsbody of everyone around him and, crucial to the plot, to his unfaithful wife. The saving grace of this production was the character of the Showman. Caz Holmes gave a breathtaking performance as this narrator, making the rest of the production all the more disappointing for not maintaining the standard. Her speech was perfect, her tone subtly ironic – the only element which embraced the ‘comic absurdity’ that was described in the programme. Caz deserved more than the two stars, and I hope to see her appearing in the future in more challenging roles.The two apparent leads, Woyzeck (Ainsworth) and his wife Marie (Rovnova), did not carry the show. I spent the entire performance wondering whether Ainsworth was playing at being aloof, or if the boy was actually just a shoddy actor. I then came to the conclusion that if he did have any skill, I wouldn’t be wondering. Rovnova was a total disappointment, someone who had apparently been cast for her figure and nothing else: her dialogue was insincere, her character frustratingly flat, and her chemistry with either Woyzeck or her lover nonexistent. I was truly in disbelief that the production had even made it to the stage by the end of the show.The most exasperating feature of the performance, by far, was that as the importance of a character decreased, so the heartfelt talent present onstage increased. I can only ask what was this director thinking – or not thinking – when he cast this production.

Reviews by Louise Hemfrey

Cluedo

★★★

The End

★★★★

Broken Wing

★★★★

Mah Hunt

★★★★★

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The Blurb

Lust, betrayal, murder and finally justice ... of course not, it’s a tragedy. It’s absurd, it’s surreal, it’s a circus out there! Oikos are back for their fourth year. 'Oikos put their heart and soul into their physical performances' (BroadwayBaby.com).

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