Crazy Horse Theatre, The Hunting of the Snark

Review in Issue 12-2 | Summer 2000

My first impression on entering the performance space was one of total awe. The Museum of… is a long, slightly curved warehouse begging to be transformed. However, most of the space was unlit on entry, and everyone was quickly squashed into a corner and made to sit down. And wasn’t this supposed to be a promenade performance? Well, yes… a bit later everyone was shooed along about fifteen metres, dragging their chairs with them, only to be squashed into another comer. And then again, and again. A sense of space was lacking throughout the entire production, made worse by the gorgeous surroundings.

The original poem by Lewis Carroll – apparently ‘classic nonsense’, but in truth an endless stream of unamusing, contrived and dated wordplay – describes a journey in search of the intangible Snark. Again, no real attempt is made to suggest the various fantastical surroundings: we’re still in a very beautiful, old warehouse loft, not on an island. The set is awkward and clumsy with things lying about to no effect. Director Dylan Ritson relies heavily on the power of the text (if there is any) to spark interest but with all attempts at dialogue ending up as forced, spat-out renderings of over-learnt lines, most of the text itself is lost on the audience. Too often the lack of movement becomes almost claustrophobic, with everyone seemingly glued to the spot, waiting for their turn, school-play style.

I tried to look for a fragility or tenderness within the characters. An understanding of clown ‘logic’, or even, pushed further, a Beckettian stance would have been a step in the right direction. But the plummy, over confident acting and unimaginative structuring bulldozered away any emotional responses at all. Altogether a great shame and a waste of a beautiful space.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-2
p. 24