Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Colchester Mercury Theatre's stunning production of Steinbeck's classic 'Grapes of Wrath' could not be better timed as a counterfoil to today's spending review. I was completely blown away by this production, even having read the book. Of course, readers will know the story is dark and yet redemptive through the sacrifices of some of the key characters.
I confess I am not a regular theatre goer, however this sensitive and highly creative interpretation really hooked me in. In fact I remember failing to watch the movie version all the way through as it seemed to contradict the images my imagination had drawn in my mind's eye. The combination of the physical boundaries of the theatre and the gentle pace meant this play still allowed me to both keep intact those images and to add to them. In fact that conclusion made me realise why film versions of previously read books don't come up to the mark with their literal, photo realistic interpretations which tend to restrict our own imagination so much as we are, actually, watching someone else's imagination instead.
I cannot stress enough if you are in the area do make the effort to go, it is so fantastic in every respect. Brilliant acting, production and staging plus special mention of the musicians who doubled up as actors too. The music was totally live featuring a brilliant fiddle player, multi instrumentalist guitar / banjo / mandolin / slide guitar player, double bass and some occasional percussion. The style was quoted as Bluegrass yet also included a vibrant Hoe Down sequence and incredibly haunting and moving instrumentals.
The closing sequence was breathtaking - simple, redemptive, challenging - not a dry eye in the house! It's on until the 30th October, make the time!