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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Gormenghast

Venue: Liverpool Playhouse Theatre
Run Date: May 8 – May 12

Author: Mervyn Peake
Director: David Glass
Production Company: David Glass Ensemble
Cast Includes: Philip Pellew, Adam Sunderland, Eric Maclennan, Elisa de Gray, James Wooldridge, Sally Mortemore.
2 hours.

 
Image: Adam Sunderland (Steerpike) and Elisa de Grey (Fuchsia)

Adam Sunderland (Steerpike) and Elisa de Grey (Fuchsia)

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website


David Glass’s production of Gormenghast is a Gothic gorge-fest that cannot fail to entertain. However, its difficult to ascertain whose the more exhausted afterwards – the audience or the actors. There is so much vibrancy, colour and noise, it is very much an interactive experience that holds itself together around the eternal themes of excessive love, greed and death superbly and with an ingenuity that is breathtaking.


A mixture of dance, mime and acting, the cast allow the feel of the mystic land to shine through and so add to the unease as the wicked Steerpike (Sunderland) sets in motion his plan to become controller of Gormenghast in place of reluctant young heir, Titus Groan (Wooldridge).

Image: Eric MacLennan (Swelter) and Philip Pellew (Flay)Sunderland is wonderful as he journeys from kitchen boy under the vile Chef Swelter (Maclennan) to insane control freak. Elisa de Gray, too, as the torn daughter, Fuchsia, excels as the mad Rapunzle-esque princess.

Yet it is Philip Pellew, as loyal manservant Flay, who steals the show. His timing and delivery are magnificent as he creeps around with footsteps echoing from the first with a disturbing, overstated malevolence.

With its clever use of light and sound, Gormenghast is both an extremely witty and deeply disturbing manifestation of a people consumed by self-worth hell-bent on self-destruction.

 

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website
www.everymanplayhouse.com


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