THE WOLF FROM THE DOOR – Royal Court Theatre, London

Synopsis: Writer Rory Mullarkey imagines a wild road trip across Middle England, where Lady Catherine and her young protégé Leo, enlist every tearoom, hot yoga class and Wl group on a mission to change the country forever.

Review: Rory Mullarkey has written a quirky and an imagination fetching piece of theatre. His writing style is full of youthful and smart idealistic views on his government and the society that encompasses him. Mullarkey has created some uniquely queer and humorous scenarios within social classes and political premise. Making it to the viewer a curious, gripping and intriguing fresh take on old chestnut topics and figures.

‘The Wolf From the Door’ has seemingly been written in a micro scenic manner. Due to more than likely the rhythm and style of Mullarkeys’ writing MacDonalds’ directing choices caused some clunkyness. From my experience plays with micro scenes (if done at all) must be done to perfection with out drawing attention to stage management duty between scenes or interfere with the speed of the play. This writing required swift changes that unfortunately laboured more than needed. Set designed by Tom Pye wasn’t much of a supportive cohesive assistant to the text at all, it was prop and stage management heavy. Overall too literal. Due to the hybrid nature of the text I felt Pye and MacDonald could have leaned more towards a less-is-more approach from a more abstract angle which would have given the text more room to breath and grow within in the quaint space of the Jerwood upstairs theatre, as well as the imagination of the viewer.

MacDonalds’ cast on the other hand were a bunch of fantastics. Calvin Demba, who played Leo was a thorough performer representing the underdog of society. He had moments of bare bravery and provided a laid back, vulnerable character with true heart and soul.

Anna Chancellor, plays leading lady Catherine tremendously. She performed with an emotional depth and conviction to her characters vigilante cause for a new England. Chancellors’ performance was engaging and full of dry comic timing. Even in the moments where silence was exposed for periods longer than normally comfortable for theatre, Chancellors’ expression and body language provided some continuum within moments that could have otherwise fallen flat in the quiet.

Sophie Russell, who played various female roles through out was an extremely enjoyable performer to watch. Russell had a natural comic rhythm giving specific and individual character choices for each role that set them apart. Russell especially as Mrs. Mildred was a stand out for me, the mannerisms she dressed this character in, her delivery and movement were an uncanny, unique and unctuous watch.

Pearce Quigley, played the various male roles with equal humour and clarity throughout. Quigley like Russell had moments of rip roaring hilarity, his comic timing spot on. His various characters each with a distinctive voice showcasing his clear experience and comfort with the stage and his audience, a delight to watch.

In conclusion, ‘The Wolf From the Door’ is a youthful, brave, insightful, humorous and punchy piece of writing by Rory Mullarkey. With performances by very gifted and engaging actors making this show well worth the pound spent to see it.

‘The Wolf From the Door’ is on at the Royal Court Theatre 10th September – 1st November

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