The Quare Fellow
ISABEL COCKAYNE Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
For all its 50 years, Brendan Behan's controversial satire centred on the hours leading up to an execution remains disturbing and thought- provoking.
As soon as we walk in, the set of five prison cell doors and a railing, setting up a barrier between us and them, evokes a sense of restraint.
Then, with 17 actors playing in an incredibly small space, suddenly your own space feels cramped. And in the second half you feel time drag on for the wardens waiting for a man's death.
Actor Kathy Burke, who apparently typed out the play set in 1949 to understand it better, has only a light touch as a director to the play.
As in Waiting for Godot, we never see the Quare Fellow – the man condemned to hang for murdering then dismembering his brother “like a pig”.
- 1 Crumbling coast fear means Norfolk's 'golf ball' radar must be moved
- 2 Rare insect spotted in Norfolk for first time in nearly 100 years
- 3 Pub gets dozens of calls asking - 'Do you know there's a dog on your roof?'
- 4 DVLA issues urgent warning to drivers in UK
- 5 City chip shop might be SINKING but refuses to close
- 6 Norwich street named one of the most beautiful in the world
- 7 Yobs pictured climbing on vandalised charity dinosaur
- 8 Restaurant with 'interactive dining experience' to open in Norwich
- 9 Enjoy afternoon tea onboard a steam train in Norfolk this summer
- 10 'We just want to hold our son' - Plea for help to bring miracle baby home
Still a picture of him grows and we learn more about his crime and victim through his inmate's quick banter. Despite the onerous subject, the sense of warmth and wit of human beings shines through the dialogue.
In this production, the acting is crisp and unpretentious and thanks to that you get flashes of how a jailed man despairs in his predicament.