Click here!


Theatre Review: The Panopticon ***

Joy Watters reviews 'a powerful explosive piece'.

Writer Jenni Fagan has adapted her 2012 debut novel for the stage which, directed by Debbie Hannan, makes for a powerful explosive piece with its blend of destruction and rage from which hope somehow springs.

Fagan drew on her own childhood with dozens of care placements, constantly rejected and in conflict with the authorities, only sustained by her belief that she did not have to be defined by where she came from. Her strength in surviving the survivable is embodied in lead character Anais Hendrick

Anais enters the fray like an enraged kickboxer with a mouth on her, a blood-stained girl in a school uniform with no recollection of how she came to be like that. She has arrived undaunted at her latest place of detention, the Panopticon, where the young inmates are observed constantly in their cells.

Anna Russell Martin’s Anais is a standout performance constantly firing on all cylinders. Anais is a leader, advising her fellows with her experience armed with her knowledge of the care and legal systems.

Russell Martin captures both the visceral response of the formidable Anais to her circumstances and the teenager’s intellect in her approach. Anais is determined to survive what life throws at her and pursue her dreams.

The drugs, the alcohol and the violence which characterise the life of young offenders are punchily brought to life. Lewis den Hertog’s occasionally overwhelming video design fills the stage with its visual interpretation of the unsurvivable.

The supporting cast of young offenders and social workers does not always have the strength to create the whole picture of what is taking place. With the actors’ problems ranging from inaudibility, their roles in the life of Anais are somewhat blurred.

An incredibly powerful piece of writing, The Panopticon has the power to shock and repel while affirming the strength of the individual.

Run ended.

Tags: theatre

Comments: 0 (Add)

To post a comment, you need to sign in or register. Forgotten password? Click here.

Find a show

Search the site

Find us on …

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on YouTube

Click here!