Before the play begins the three actors (Scott Smith, Kerry Frampton & Jimmy Whiteaker) are playing for us and with us, offering jovial enticements to engage. Their games are declared, we are all in the same room, there is dialogue back and forth, Whiteaker picks up on a audience response and plays with it. I find myself cast as a doctor. We are in the world of theatrical clown.
The company proceeds through the show’s unknown and unknowable order with playful brutality, rich tones of character and a rhythm that feels like rough tree bark dripping with grease. They paint a sumptuous portrait of the power of command and emotional turmoil over the broken Woyzeck. These are delicious grotesques, the pair of Doctors perverted, Frampton’s Captain corpulent and putrescent, a hobbled and creaking Woyzeck captured by Smith. Technically joyful, with points of play and dialog lined with precise fixed points, tactile stillness amid the stylised play.
There is tenderness mixed with aggression, the world is bleak, devoid of hope, the crimes recurrent, the passions deep and sinuous. You get a sense of each performer’s personal voice, there is no bland style rather each brings to the stage their idiosyncratic personal energy. There is delicacy too in the scenes of Woyzeck and Marie, adding pathos to the biblical jealousy and calm ruination of the final scene.
There is pleasure behind every moment of this show and from this joy we see the sparks of destructive rage and annihilating authority.