The Hush Hush Ensemble, Tamburlaine the Great

Review in Issue 8-3 | Autumn 1996

The Hush Hush Ensemble dedicate themselves to their local community. Based in Deptford, they perform plays by Christopher Marlowe – who was murdered nearby – in a way which they hope to be both accessible and enjoyable.

This production of Tamburlaine the Great was performed in the local adventure playground which is fast becoming a regular venue for the company. It’s a great location. Surrounded by building sites, the helter-skelter climbing frames promise an altogether different kind of theatrical experience. It was surprising then to find such a traditional interpretation of this play which relied heavily on text and used only a small area of the playground as a substitute for a proscenium arch.

There were many strong points to this production. The company worked well as an ensemble – supporting each other with committed performances and handling the text fluently. Several of the cast stood out – Iain Gonoude was particularly good as the squirmy and pathetic Mycetes – and the music provided a suitably ominous atmosphere for the piece. However the production as a whole faltered because the director generalised the play and never reached the guts of the text. In the end it comes down to one’s concept of community theatre. Should it be an imitation of the West End or should it be a medium in its own right – flouting expensive traditions, and stretching and twisting them into something of true relevance to the community?

Presenting Artists
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Deptford Adventure Playground

Date Seen
  1. Jul 1996

This article in the magazine

Issue 8-3
p. 18