Image courtesy of anaxila/Flickr.
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime at Bedlam Theatre.
An adaptation of one of Oscar Wilde’s most haunting short stories, Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller’s play was a joyous romp through the world of dark comedy. The play tells the story of a self fulfilling prophecy involving the sceptic protagonist Arthur and the mysterious character of Pod. Pod, having the apparent ability to foresee the future, turns Arthur’s world upside down when he informs him that very soon Arthur is going to murder someone.
The initial dynamic between soothsayer and sceptic is played very well, with Joseph Mcaulay’s portrayal of Pod providing the perfect foil for the logic-loving Arthur, played by Thomas Noble. The exploration of Arthur’s genuine mental trauma is well presented. Although the fact that his character feels compelled to kill is a weak point in the plotting, it nevertheless provides the basis of much of the high jinx comedy involving botched murder attempts and mistaken poison.
Comic relief from the somewhat more intense scenes are a hallmark of the play and it is credit to Brimmer-Beller that he has managed within the tight constraints of a half an hour play to strike the balance brilliantly between high drama and raucous comedy. The colloquial humour, featuring “Hive” related jokes, was appreciated by the audience with the script both pithy and the lines delivered well. The ensemble cast in the roles of Arthur’s university friends – Lilly, Marisa and Oscar – were all key in providing this comic relief and played the parts commendably.
As always in Bedlam the small stage provides challenges, however these problems were navigated successfully by the production team with alternation between one side of the stage and another adding pace to the performance.
It is always a good omen if you leave the audience wanting more, and whilst the show is no masterpiece it was with disappointment at the brevity of the play that the audience greeted the final curtain. Without reserve, Arthur Saville’s Crime was a thoroughly enjoyable play.