Woyzeck Spies Like Us Review:
Spies Like Us, brings cohesion and fluidity to Büchner’s play, a piece of work with a fragmented history. It does this with nothing more than a few metal buckets, a few cloths and beautifully directed physical performance. Of course, that’s not forgetting a formidable cast of five, who have created one of the best pieces of theatre I’ve seen so far this year.
You can’t scale theatre back much more than a small stage, set in chilly stone tunnels that originated from Bristol Temple Meads Station. It’s the kind of place you would seek sanctuary during war time bombing.
Alex Holley’s Woyzeck received no such sanctuary, in this thrilling piece of theatre. We follow his descent into madness and death through paranoia, poverty, the effects of war and post-war medical experiments on disposable soldiers.
It’s a dark piece, lightened by Phoebe Campbell’s airy Marie and Hamish Lloyd Barnes’ Captain.
Ollie Norton-Smith’s direction and Zak Nemorin’s choreography is sublime, whether it’s a punch-up, an exciting fairground or the final serene drowning in a lake.
No second is lost, with a tightly synchronised cast making the most of every moment; an echo, a whisper, a facial expression, the whimpering of a cloth baby hanging in the air.
Oscar Maguire’s sound design was a pivotal mechanism in the varying dynamics of the piece.
This production of Woyzeck runs at a concise one hour, yet there still seemed time for quieter moments. One such moment came as simply and joyously as Marie admiring her gold earrings in a broken piece of mirror.
This is theatre that makes you think “wow”. It’s simple, a story stripped back to basics, yet the complexity of its choreography and physical performance is truly wonderful.
It sounds condescending to call the company young, yet in their theatrical careers they are. And, in that short amount of time, they’ve created a piece of theatre miles better than some of the big names, big budgets, big money producers that have made me want to weep before the show’s even staggered to the interval. Definitely a theatre company to go and see.
For more information about Spies Like Us Theatre: www.spieslikeustheatre.com