The Memorandum

JOHN LAWSON Studio Theatre Company at The Garage, Norwich


The company exploded on to the stage of its brand new venue with this hugely demanding political farce by Czech writer Vaclav Havel.

Havel, who became the post-Communist Czech Republic's first president, was imprisoned three times during the Iron Curtain years and his plays were banned.

And you could see why, as a company managing director is subverted by his number two and other underlings.

Barry Givens is great as the stumbling Josef Gross, who keeps on believing he is regaining control only to be crushed again by the oily Jan Ballas, played with evil malevolence by Chris Neville.

The plot centres on a new company language Ptydepe. Sadly, barely a handful of people can make head or tail of it, and they are barred from translating it.

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This enables Ballas and his wordless sidekick Pillar (an expressive Myles Crowder) to achieve whatever they wish.

There are fine comic performances from Jeanine Huggins and Ian Sayer, with Huggins tackling huge speeches of gobbledegook.

David Lambert's production is a fittingly-stylish debut for The Garage.

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