Boyega plays traumatised soldier Frank Woyzeck with both immediacy and understatement. We see the wounds of his childhood in an orphanage and his harrowing encounters with his desperate mother. We see this desperation define Woyzeck's adult life, as he struggles to make more money to support Marie, his Irish Catholic mistress, and their baby. Then we see him unravel with a brutal intensity.
Based on an actual event in 1821, when a jealous soldier stabbed his lover to death, the German play signals a turning point in drama. Though staged in 1913, it introduces the naturalism and episodic, fragmented forms that have since shaped the course of modern theatre, from Brecht to Churchill. In hands of writer Jack Thorne and director Joe Murphy the story is relocated to 1981 Berlin, where the British army guards against Soviet invasion.
Büchner's fragmentary, unfinished original (made up of four German variants) becomes one cohesive drama, which combines a tender examination of trauma and a carnal portrayal of paranoia and mental instability to thrilling effect.
|Woyzeck, Old Vic Theatre review
|The Old Vic, The Cut, London, SE1 8NB | MAP
06 May 17 – 24 Jun 17, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|£12 - £60
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