Jhis staging is witty. In order to make an invisible man “visible”, an element of production usually hidden from the public is exposed. On a stage divided into two halves, one half is realistically arranged to suggest the consulting room where star radiation therapist Dr. Kemp (Kate Louise Okello) holds private sessions. The other half is a dark space in which stand two benches strewn with seemingly random objects. This is the Foley district, where sound effects and other suggested spaces are created (pub, house, street, presbytery). When Daniel Watson’s Griffin finally manages to make himself invisible, he still seems to move in front of us thanks to the deft combination of Foley effects and his fellow actors’ reactions (getting beaten by invisible fists, for example).
by Philippe Correia New version Wells’ highly adapted 1897 novel also plays with other notions of visibility/invisibility, but with less success. The action, set in present-day North East England, moves back and forth in time and space, exposing the hidden forces shaping today’s society through the story of Griffin, a teenager troubled from an underprivileged background who claims to be able to make living creatures invisible. . When his actions inadvertently cause a tragic house fire, the authorities refuse to see the facts he presents and confine him to an institution. Her new therapist, Kemp, has her own issues (of class, race, and gender). She hopes, like a mad scientist, to exploit Griffin’s discovery so she can infiltrate the halls of power and exert control over world events.
This production is part of the Northern Stage project aimed at supporting the development of talent in the region. I appreciated the commitment of the four young actors (including Jack Fairley and Izzy Ions in several roles), under the direction of Anna Girvan; also the efficiency of the design of Aileen Kelly and the sound and music of Jeremy Bradfield. The play’s plot, however, is too chaotic; drama and social criticism, lacking focus, disappear from view.