Berlin classic is a chip off the Everyman block
SMALL wonder the latest Everyman company, reviving the art of repertory theatre, has seized on Manfred Karge's The Conquest of the South Pole.
It ticks just about every Everyman box going. Karge is a veteran of the old Berliner Ensemble, Bertold Brecht's own theatre company.
The play deals with dreams and escapism among the unemployed. And, above all, it packs a punch which the audience feels even as it wonders just what exactly is going on.
Themes and ideas and comments spin past with dazzling speed. There's humour, slapstick even, and, above all else, there is a real sense of this being an ensemble piece
Maybe back in the day the Everyman would have called in one of its stable of writers to rejig and rewrite the play into a Liverpudlian context. But there are the twenty-teens rather than the 1970s, and the company of today leaves the play in its original German setting.
On the face it, it's simple enough. Slupianek (Dean Nolan) is both a dreamer and a doer and, in the absence of a job, he decides to recreate the successful Amundsen expedition to the South Pole of 1911, and also the nearly-made-it Shackleton expedition of 1909.
In and out of the fantasy voyage slip Slupianek's fellow travellers and co-conspirators in a dazzling, kaleidoscopic take that at times leaves the audience trailing in its wake.
Braukmann (George Caple) is in the plot up to his neck, while his reluctant co-conspirator of a wife (Laura Dos Santos) keeps at least something of a grasp on reality as the snowy waters of Antarctica are recreated among the washing in the attic of the family house.
Themes and ideas and comments spin past with dazzling speed. There's humour, slapstick even, and, above all else, there is a real sense of this being an ensemble piece, fully justifying the Everyman's decision to set up a permanent repertory company for this season.
To get the most out of it, a repeat visit might be needed, and apart from the run to April 8, The Conquest of the South Pole will return in June and July when the company reprises all five of the spring season shows. Book now.
*Conquest Of The South Pole, Everyman, until Saturday April 8.