Wall Street Productions, Bartleby

Review in Issue 5-4 | Winter 1993

After some shows you think ‘that was good’ and go straight to the bar and talk about something else. Other shows stay with you much longer. Bartleby by Wall Street Productions was one of the latter. Written by Lee Hall from the book by Herman Melville, it was an atmospheric and haunting piece of physical theatre which told the story of a new office clerk who, to begin with, astounds with his capacity for work. (This even earns him a whole gingernut biscuit from the office junior who only gives halves to everyone else). Gradually his behaviour begins to disturb, and we watch helplessly as his unexplained preference not to join in certain office procedures leads to a downward spiral of self-destruction. All this was beautifully told using five actors and a variety of ladders which were cleverly used throughout. They suggested desks (the height symbolic of office status) and were manipulated in choreographed movement sequences, the most notable being a solo by Kevin Alderson in which the office is systematically destroyed in a strangely creative way. The ensemble playing didn’t fall into a predictable ‘out of the school of’ style which made it all the more interesting and challenging to watch. Every sequence whether vocal or physical was imbued with meaning, and dance sequences were not just thrown in to break up the rhythm or inject some pace. The result was a beautifully crafted piece of theatre which was visually and intellectually stimulating. Simon Murray’s production deserves a wider showing nationwide as an example of just how good physical theatre can be.

Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 1993

This article in the magazine

Issue 5-4
p. 20