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I wrote briefly here: Metamorphosis II at Waterloo East Theatres about a performance I had the opportunity to see and photograph earlier this week. I didn’t though have the opportunity to discuss the individual performances. Congratulations again to Kasia Rozycki for producing and directing such an excellent evening’s entertainment.
Meg Lake is a veteran of the first Metamorphosis production and makes two appearances this year, most notable as Mors, the Roman personification of death, in ‘A Bumper Harvest’ by Christine Roberts. I was not quite clear how closely this play related to Ovid but as story of the human tragedy and human responsibility for the refugee crisis it was well told. The play is dominated by Meg Lake’s performance as she challenges us to accept our own responsibility for the crisis.
Andrew Candish performs a solo tour-de-force as Peleus in the play of the same name by Will Owen. In the play Peleus responds to the request/demand by his grandfather Zeus that he, Peleus, rapes Thetis to protect Zeus from a prophesy which has been made about the son that Thetis will bear. One of several plays on sexual politics, a subject which it is impossible to avoid in any consideration of Metamorphosis, this is powerfully written and powerfully delivered.
The abuse of women in Metamorphosis is mostly explicitly addressed in ‘The Tapestry’ by Emma Rogerson, telling the tale of Philomela who is raped and has her tongue cut out to prevent her naming the rapist. But she finally reveals her identity in a tapestry. The play is a little clunky in parts and the cutting out of the tongue perhaps taken too literally for a modern interpretation, but the core performances by Valencia Spearpoint as Philomela and Georgie Grier as her sister Procne have real emotional intensity and are one of the standout performances in the show.
Gender identity and transformation are given a lighter touch in ‘A Couple in One’ by Jonathan Brandt. Claire Emmot and Adam Gough play Salmacis and Hermaphrodite in a comic play which still mages to make a compelling point. Both actors are superb and in a performance which requires the two to act as one they succeed magnificently whilst still appearing entirely natural. Amidst some other rather sobering story lines, this is a little comic gem.
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