Clare Sinclair reviews Big Telly Theatre Company's latest production.
Big Telly Theatre Company are celebrating their 25th year, bringing the dark tale Melmoth the Wanderer to life; a story of greed, despair and the purgatory that comes from selling the soul to the devil. Directed by Zoe Seaton, we are taken on a journey through a story hundred’s of years old, yet could be from any period of time.
Initially beginning in the midst of a church choir rehearsal, we see Shelley Atkinson, Colm Gormley, Claire Lamont and Keith Singleton in some alarm as Dennis Herdman arrives and heralds the beginning of the tale. Although in their church choir characters are perturbed by talk of the devil , they soon take to acting out of the tales of Melmoth: each with a dark humour at their core. The unwise couple frittering away a fortune, entranced by greed; the sane man who’s compulsions to find Melmoth leave him locked away in the madhouse; or the innocent deserted girl, unable to cope with the horrors of the world.
There is exquisite absurdity in this production with a bare-all approach which works well for the small individual stories encompassed in the production. Jamie Harper’s puppets create some very lovely moments while Deirdre Dwyer has worked hard to create a set where almost anything can happen. One moment we have a man’s sickbed, later transformed in front of our eyes into an interrogators torture device. An ordinary looking wardrobe becomes a cellar, a living room, even a balcony. Big Telly haven’t reigned in any of the darkly absurd elements of the piece, resulting in an excellent performance, very worthy of a 25th birthday.
Melmoth the Wanderer’s run at the Tron has ended, but it continues its tour.