By Peter J Pullan
This was a terrific piece of theatre, made even more powerful by the absence of ‘celebrities’ and the feeling that you were listening to real people caught up in real events. The reality was heightened by the interaction of the actors with the audience before the show and in the interval, and it was thrilling when the audience, as members of the Cornish village co-operative, meeting in the Lifeboat Public House, found characters from the play sitting with them and behaving as at a really lively public gathering. It was hard to resist joining in approval or otherwise as the characters forcefully expressed their opinions. One friend likened it to a meeting of Camden Council – if only!
Ibsen’s play was written in 1882, but transferred brilliantly to its modern-day Porth Kregg setting and explored issues of power, politics, business, ethics and family relationships that are still so relevant today. We found ourselves nodding in agreement with statements illustrating the often amoral behaviour of politicians, newspapers and businesses as brilliantly depicted by the characters of the village. The interactivity culminated with everyone in the audience being able to cast their vote upon the motion, the outcome of which decided the conclusion of the play. On this occasion more people were in favour of an ethical judgement, but I was left seriously troubled by the thought of what that ethical judgement had cost the village.
The captioning enabled us to keep up with the fast-paced arguments and the play was so engrossing that the time just flew by. This is captioned theatre at its best. The theatre is small so you can see, hear and feel the actors and the captions are perfectly placed. The staff are friendly and helpful and there is a lovely coffee/wine bar. If you have not given the New Diorama Theatre a try yet, I would urge you to do so. You will not be disappointed.