15 April 2023
THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre) Review
I was quite excited to see a bit of Brecht. You don’t see this play staged often; I’ve certainly never seen it on stage. It did say online that the “play is brought up to date in a new version”, and that’s always a concern, but I was quietly optimistic.
Sadly, I felt the show was largely a train wreck, although maybe that’s too harsh. It was a panto-like cacophony of cheap laughs and audience pandering. It’s a classic text that doesn’t need to be modernised. Leo Wan constantly talking to the audience like he was sharing a private moment with us was a big miss. Togo Igawa in a rat suit? Come on, we are not a bunch of five year olds. Ami Tredrea as Shen Te was very watchable, but she was let down by the text, which lead to constant overacting. For 2.5 hours I was fluctuating between bored and annoyed.
The highlight of my evening turned out to be the Gods: Callum Coates, Tim Samuels, and especially Nick Blakeley. It was their subtle comedy that made the show bearable, especially in the second act.
Nina Segal’s rewrite cheapened and dummied down the play to the point where it was almost loosely based on the original. Anthony Lau’s direction didn’t do it for me because the show felt muddled and was trying way too hard to be hip. Georgia Lowe’s set was wonderfully clever, but, even then, it too was a bit too hipster central.
A disappointing night really.
Cheapskate enjoyment value: -£5.