Lucid Theatre – Little Wolf
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
Monday 23rd October 2017
The tackling of old plays into contemporary pieces is now standard. Whilst the Sherman’s Cherry Orchard is a great success, there are some interpretations which don’t quite hit the mark.
Simon Harris has taken one of Ibsen’s lesser-known plays and twisted it into a version which has all the hallmarks of a gripping work of theatre, yet somehow lacks any real bite.
Freddie and Rita are worried about their disabled son called Wolf, who has been missing for a few hours. With the aid of his half-sister Asta and their friend Laars, the tragic outcome is soon made apparent. The unravelling of all their relationships is now tested under the extremity of grief and deeply rooted regret.
The worry of being in a relationship is that it may end up like an Ibsen play. Little Wolf should be more sobering than it is. This new version tries to be as sleek as a televised version would attempt to be. You should really feel for these characters who are going through something awful. But we don’t really care, something which is never helped by the humanising factors of the warped mental states these people develop throughout.
The actors have great potential, though they feel slightly too young for the parts. Curt, aloof Alex Clatworthy is Rita, who appears to never have wanted Wolf in the first place and is furious with her partner. Gwydion Rhys as Freddie feels miscast, though I do speak highly of acting ability. Through moments of trance-like vacancy, Freddie appears to delve into the fantasy world he strives for in his writing. His moments of occupying his son’s wardrobe is both sad and pathetic.
This is an intense role to take on and the weight of the part is hard to lift, even with Rhys’s broad shoulders. Melangell Dolma performed as Asta, his half-sister with a potential theme of incest lingering around the corner. She plays the role with a whispering vulnerability and is perhaps the most sympathetic to us as an audience. John-Paul Macleod is light comedic relief as Laars. With talk of him hitting it off with Asta, his own child-like attitude and awkward nature is both charming and mildly annoying.
A highlight is the the final scene which draws emotionally closer to a state for the couple to grieve and realise if they should even stay together. We craved more scenes like this, since the theme of the death of a child should be more alarming and moving, than what was presented.
We wish all involved the best for the future in their artistic journeys.
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