Theatre / “Breaking the Castle” Written and performed by Peter Cook. At The Street Theatre, until March 14. Reviewed by JOE WOODWARD
A RARE standing ovation greeted Peter Cook and the production team at the completion of the performance. “Breaking the Castle” has the power to transform through its writing, acting, design and relationship with its audience.
The small space at The Street Theatre created a symbiotic relationship between spectator and actor; creating the potential for one of the most powerful experiences of theatre. In many respects Peter Cook’s play answers the question of “Why theatre?”
An incisive text about addiction drawn from real life was heightened by stunning design elements. Director Caroline Stacey has shaped a performance facilitated by Imogen Keen’s deceptively simple yet highly evocative set, Kimmo Vennonen’s visceral sound design and Gerry Corcoran’s striking lighting design.
Cook’s performance can be described as energetic, sensitive, openly engaging and highly transformative. The ability to project moments in a person’s life through physical gesture, movement around the set and quick vocal changes to suggest different voices, both real and imagined, made for an experience unique to the theatre.
This is truly the place of the actor; the spiritual realm of the Shaman; the conduit of the gods! He is both storyteller and the embodiment of human archetypes suggesting realities and meanings far beyond any literal sense of the words.
To describe more in a few words here is to degrade the critical elements of the theatre experience. The production might easily be the basis for full study and documentary on theatrical creation; such is its power. It fully deserved the standing ovation. It needs extension and audiences well beyond the current season.