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A CurtainUp London Review
The Invisible Man
It is the magic which is the real star of this show. Jaw dropping illusions are amazing as a quill pen seems to write all on its own, the pages of a newspaper turn unaided, a piano's keys move and sound without a hand and a glass of milk is half emptied! Things move around in the vicarage at Iping village without our seeing the perpetrator and the choreography as we watch people fighting with an invisible foe is outstanding and amusing.
There are also a range of very good performances. I particularly like Natalie Casey's expressive maid Millie, her range of facial contortion is perfect for this type of tongue in cheek performance. Jo Stone-Fewings has the right touch as the hearty but talented Squire Burdock, not as dim as the landed gentry are often supposed to be and his manservant Wicksteed (Christopher Godwin) who has led a varied life of many global occupational experiences. Maria Friedman plays Mrs Hall the well endowed landlady of the local inn whose twin assets draw the attention of the invisible man. Geraldine Fitzgerald is the intelligent and pipe smoking blue stocking Miss Statchell who tries to understand Griffin as everyone else in the village is convinced there is a malicious ghost in their midst. We only ever hear John Gordon Sinclair's voice, as even when his facial bandages are taken away there is nothing for us to see except the cigarette being smoked in a void. "How did they do that?" you will ask. Gary Wilmot is Thomas Marvel, a rural tramp who is called upon to be an accomplice to the invisible man.
Steven Edis' original music adds much atmosphere with its percussion special sound effects and the sepia painted backdrops are evocative of that theatrical era. It is a witty and light hearted event, this romp after the mayhem caused by the mystery man, rather than concentrating on the terrible predicament of the scientist whose experimentation has gone horribly wrong and who is the personification of "something nasty in the woodshed".
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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