Stars explained: * A production of no real merit
with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not
enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real
life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A
good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely
achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a
great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major
flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic
which lifts theatre to another plane.
God of Carnage
Rose Theatre, Kidderminster
The God of Carnage runs wild in Yasmina Reza's play of the same name. A seemingly low key parental conversation between two couples, about a playground incident that has occurred between their respective young sons, spirals downward into a wild biting satire.
The fabric of their apparent happy and comfortable existences gets slowly torn apart during the meeting and their individual frustrations with their lives and each other, descend into profanity and anger.
Couple one are Alain and Annette. Alain is a busy pharmaceutical executive, constantly on the phone and caring little for anything but his job. Joe Harper did a fine job of adding a businesslike precision to his performance that added perfectly to the growing frustration between everyone.
Annette, his wife, at first seems inoffensive, even while suffering her husband’s constant phone interruptions. That is until a sudden attack of sickness signals the first real step towards the ensuing chaos. Louise Fulwell played Annette extremely well, shocking everyone with her bilious outburst and clearly revelled in the part when she becomes the worse for drink.
Couple two is Michel and Véronique. Véronique at first displays her upright, precise morality, but slowly her anger and the way she despises her husband Michel is revealed. Katy Ball played Veronica and was meticulous in her portrayal but had one of the toughest jobs when it came to unleashing a violent physical outburst against her husband.
The target of her anger, husband Michel, is an arrogant racist, who is always guiltless - even after having thrown their son’s pet Hamster out on the street to die, all due to it making a noise at night.
Michel played by Chris Clarke was again the model of manners when the couple first arrive, offering drinks and cake to their guests. After his beating though, his true colours come to the fore, exploding into anger and aggression.
God of Carnage is a bitter domestic comedy that skilfully shifts their relationships to each other as they move to support each other’s point of view when it serves them. None of the cast faltered in their performance and whilst the squabbling might seem comic, underneath is the hidden tragedy of unhappily married lives. Hugh Meredith’s direction is subtle but never quite descends into the extremes the play calls for but definitely keeps the action flowing.
It’s always a challenge, within an amateur setting, to either set about another cast member physically with a real degree of authenticity, or to deliver a real vein of sustained anger and vehemence in the dialogue. In the intimate setting of the studio theatre it was difficult to balance these extremes but none the less it was overall, an enjoyable performance.
You will need to be prepared for some shocks and very adult language and running at around an hour and a half without an interval, make sure you are well prepared for the arrival of the God of Carnage. To 08-04-17