Gecko, The Overcoat

Review in Issue 21-2 | Summer 2009

Gecko’s version of Gogol’s ‘The Overcoat’ is a genuinely exciting example of physical and visual theatre, distinguished by mathematically planned, sometimes gravity-defying movement by a cast of finely drilled performers, and endowed with a vibrant theatricality by the director, Amit Lahav, who also plays the leading role of Akakki.

The short story has been interpreted as the restless quest of a poor, modest factory worker for a beautiful new overcoat which, he is convinced, will bring him promotion by his employer and acceptance by his love. The surreal, unforgettable scenography, all right-angles and chiaroscuro, was designed by Ti Green and dramatically lit by James Farncombe. The music with a middle-eastern accent, by Dave Price, would have been excellent had it not been so over-amplified, and the performer-workers marched their way around and through it all with puppet-like precision, controlled by ice-cold office superiors who regarded their lives as hardly worth a pin. Humanity is in very short supply here and one’s heart aches for the simple Akakki. The Overcoat, at last acquired, is immediately taken by the sad hero’s rival, or at least I think that’s what happened, as the storyline was not entirely clear and the text was a sort of soup of muttered phrases in French and Spanish and probably Esperanto.

That didn’t worry me at all, but Amit Lahav might have an even better show with a dramaturg, an outside eye to disentangle the dream sequences from the real action. But it only minimally affected my enjoyment.

It’s the sort of show I could see again and again.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2009

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-2
p. 32