The Clod Ensemble, The Overcoat

Review in Issue 10-2 | Summer 1998

The Clod Ensemble interpret Gogol’s world of petty concern and the suppression of the individual. A diligent, if simple, clerk who is ostracised and tormented by his co-workers, finds his nemesis in the guise of a special item of clothing, He is the victim of a society obsessed with conformity – ‘copy, copy, copy!’ chant the subliminal office chorus. So, when necessity forces him to invest in a beautiful new overcoat, complete with red lining and fur collar, he is invited into a circle of parties and frivolity. This being a Russian tale, tragedy inevitably ensues.

The production runs like a slick musical number, well rehearsed with energy and gusto. Scenes merge seamlessly and a cast of colourful characters appear and disappear within a cleverly constructed and utilised set comprised of drawers, cupboards, doors and multiple levels. As music theatre, it has an edge on the average theatre-going experience. The live music performed on stage and as part of the action, drives the story through its emotional journey. However, the musicians are not actors and integrating them into the dramatic action highlights their inadequacy.

The Overcoat exhibits considerable charm and pathos but with characterisations which never really make it beyond mere representation (exceptions being the main protagonist and the important man), the production comes dangerously close to resembling the artificial world it portrays.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-2
p. 23