I suppose the only thing I had to go on was that Tony Harrison wrote a poem called ‘Them and [uz]’ about class struggles growing up in Leeds and a brief reference to The Book of Job mentioned in the programme. Neither of these perspectives seemed, initially, to match up with the courtroom scene on stage. Then four actors appeared and the madness began.
”What struck me so greatly about the performance was the contrasts between each and every individual on stage’’
The element of the production that I found most captivating was the characterisation of the personalities on stage – all of them were so wildly different from one another. The first character the audience met was Henry Hempstead in the role of the prosecutor, with a lilting Irish accent and a fantastic sense of comic timing with which to deliver his opening lines. Facing him in the courtroom was the counsel for the defence, played by Chris Trueman, who was nonplussed to the extent of looking as those he’d taken vast quantities of LSD. Trueman reminded me ever so slightly of a much younger Billy Connolly, full of all the same quirks in his character.
What struck me so greatly about the performance was the contrasts between each and every individual on stage. The result of these jarring personalities was that they all spoke almost in monologue, never engaging in any kind of sustained, successful communication. It was a fascinating interaction, or indeed lack of interaction, to watch on-stage.
”It certainly became clear that you’d never be able to guess where the plotline would lead you next’’
However, it was not so much the interpersonal relationships but rather the oddness of the script that made the play so interesting. It certainly became clear that you’d never be able to guess where the plotline would lead you next, or indeed whether the next discussion about worms or autumn was even vaguely related to the last.
”I was a little too caught up in Hallward exam mode or know too little about the Bible’’
As for the biblical undertones of the play, perhaps I was a little too caught up in Hallward exam mode or know too little about the Bible but I didn’t pick up on them too much. Were we, the audience, put in the role of God as jurors? That’s for any other theatre-goer to work out.
Overall, it was like bathing in a refreshingly weird and original world for about an hour – a great revision break and a fun way to support the amazing student theatre. Get out of the library and head down there.
Image courtesy of Lakeside Arts Centre