ED2011 3/5 Reviews ED2011 Theatre Reviews

Gogol’s The Portrait (Newbury Youth Theatre)

By | Published on Wednesday 31 August 2011

As Gogol’s protagonist Andrey Chartkov shows, what we consider art can change in an instant. Is it in loud or quiet colours, and in exotic or commonplace ideas, that we hit upon art? This production blends the former qualities into a multi-sensory soup of music, puppetry, physical theatre, comedy and tragedy, seeking to catch our gaze like the hollow eyes that stare out from the portrait. Sometimes this strategy works beautifully, such as when the cast take up picture-frames to create dynamic ‘living pictures’ (Karim Newton is one to watch); other moments, such as singing songs or relaying desperately forced lines, muddy the play’s already colourful palette. Like the portrait seizing our gaze, this has too much intensity.

Quaker Meeting House, 8 – 13 Aug, 2.30pm (3.30pm), £7.00 – £8.00, fpp266.
tw rating 3/5