THEATRE REVIEW: Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. ★★★★

Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp.
The Royal Court, London
Wednesday 18th September - Saturday 12th October 2019

It's hard to believe that this visit to The Royal Court, a magnificent building producing and bring in some of the most formidable pieces of theatre from practitioners all across the globe, also coincides as my first experience with a Caryl Churchill play, especially for someone so present and respect in the industry, and if this first outing is anything to go by, she's certainly found herself a new admire. Made up of four completely separate pieces which simply existence within their own, with remarkably memorable set pieces, each are very different to the next, with short interludes containing suprise destressing acts, though saying anymore will ruin the enjoyment.

Glass, set on a suspended mantelpiece, tells the individual stories of the inanimate objects we find in any household and brings them to life, ranging from a clock, a red plastic dog, and a vase, though the main centre of our attention is the girl made of glass, whose relationships we follow with those situated on the shelf. Each story in the first act are fairly short, but it's Rebekah Murrell's monologue at the end to the audience which packs the most punch in the whole production. Also starring Kwabena Ansah, Louisa Harland, and Patrick McNamee.

Kill, again following the theme of suspending objects in the form of a floating cloud where Tom Mothersdale is situated and speaks on behalf of the 'Gods', is perhaps the most boggling of the four stories. Also featuring a child sat colouring on the floor in a book, with short bursts on words randomly shouted with somewhat anger, it's visually compelling but the mundane and droning through the Greek Mythology might at times seem you drifting off yourself through the clouds. Also starring Caelan Edie/Leo Rait, who speak on behalf of the 'People' and alternate depending on performance dates.

Bluebeard's Friends, the climax to Act One, is where the production gets interesting. Taking a look with in playtext, which is on sale throughout the run, it's clear that the words have been divided to the actors during the process, something which is becoming more familiar these days in theatre. It's a compelling piece about a serial killer, set around a dining table, with no specific character names, as the friends share in short bursts the specifics of the murderer, who was once a part of their friends circle, and how this can come from the most unlikely of people. This is also the short piece where Miriam Buether's set design becomes the most striking and jaw-dropping. Again, anything further will ruin the moment of suprise, but be sure that gasps will be heard throughout the theatre, with an ending that will either leave you in shock or laughter.

Last to take the stage, and for the whole of Act Two on that matter, is Imp, a story set in the most linear and understanding manner in a living room, where cousins Jim (Toby Jones) and sister Dot (Deborah Findlay) indulge in the most fascinating of conversations whilst also being strangely intrigued by their young Irish 'niece' Niamh, played with conviction from Louisa Harland, and Rob (Tom Mothersdale), a homeless man brought into the home and subsequently falls for Niamh. It's not none the timeframe in which this story takes place, though circumstances suggest months, but the truth is a full two hours could be made up of this installment and you could happily enjoy every moment from the bickering relatives talking about running shoes, to Jim and Rob questioning whether to open a black bottle which may or may not contain a mythical imp with much compulsion.

Overall, Churchill's latest offering to the mature age of 81 is equally entertaining and striking; as a first timer to her work, I was completely balled over by the majority of the themes and characters brought together on stage, and will absolutely find the time to read back through her repertoire. James MacDonald and Jack Knowles have done terrific work in creating suspense and warmth with the direction and lighting design, in this thought-provoking visit to the theatre.


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