Review: The Overcoat

Written for http://www.whatsonstage.com
The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre is situated in the heart of south east London. A tidy little black box space it is well worth hopping on the overland train for, although perhaps not for this sadly thread bare production of The Overcoat.

Assembly Point Productions use Howard Colyer’s pedestrian translation of Nikolai Gogol’s classic short story and are unable to emerge from its plodding structure. Chris Bearne as the bullied hero Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin is constricted by some very pronounced stage stuttering and the rest of the cast seem unable to get into the swing with these slightly drawn characters.

Director Eero Suojanen is unable to capitalise on the inherent tensions within this tale of a man made human in the eyes of society by a fancier second skin. Or to fully utilise the powerful punch that Akaky’s ghost brings to the finale.

Going a small way to fill this void are some clever musical choices including artists such as Gogo Bordello which have been used to nice effect, and William Ingham’s lighting is neat and to the point. But Suojanen simply hasn’t been able to fully get into this Overcoat and as such this production is as scrappy and light weight as Akaky’s original garment.

Running to 29th January 2011

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