Strangeface, The Last Resort

Review in Issue 20-3 | Autumn 2008

The Last Resort begins when the audience arrives and the amiable Chorus – a Hodge-like family delineated to wonderful comic effect through Strangeface’s own brand half-masks – indulge us with interactive banter and helps us choose the best seats in the house – or in this case, the Udder Place tent replete with noisy generator.

But no matter – the surroundings are forgotten as the Brothers Grimm inspired, higgledy-piggledy town depicted in the carved, painted and often animated wooden set becomes host to a handful of characters epitomising the best and worst of human nature, as the ‘upstanding citizens’ of ‘The Last Resort’ find their moral fibre fraying in the face of temptation and despair.

The intricate story was finely plotted, and had all the ingredients of a medieval morality play with a Tim Burton-esque touch, including an adorably repulsive puppet Lucifer and a Berkoff-inspired Beelzebub. The potency of the masks was matched by superb physical performances, as the cast of four switched with ease between vastly contrasting characters. The addition of a live musician at the side of the stage helped shift the atmosphere seamlessly from comedy to tragedy at the swap of an instrument, and accompanied some fine singing by the cast: the spurned landlady’s song of revenge made the hair on the back of my neck prickle with delight, likewise the ballad between the soldier and the young boy caught the poignancy of war.

Strangeface’s production had all the dramatic elements of the best and darkest of folk tales, where beautifully grotesque masks and evocative live music helped create a naively powerful world.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-3
p. 32