WE ARE BRONTË at the Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol

bronte 1

I doubt you will ever see the Brontës’ works ever portrayed like this again, so quick, get on the internet and order tickets now! There are only a few days left of this mini comedic masterpiece left to savour at the Wardrobe. On a dark and freezing January evening, Publick Transport’s hilarious deconstruction of the gothic imaginings within the parsonage at Haworth is the perfect antidote to winter.

Angus Barr and Sarah Corbett are irresistibly funny. Their faces have qualities that one associates with some of the greats of the silent movie era – pale, gaunt and wide-eyed, it is hard not to be fascinated by them. Dressed in black and wearing dark wispy wigs, they are not afraid to let silence play a part in a crazy mix of physical theatre, improv and stand-up that constantly keeps the audience on its toes, giggling and guffawing throughout a highly entertaining hour.

What I particularly liked about Barr and Corbett’s performance was their ability to find comedy in the mundane. The unlocking of a door, for instance, or the passing of pictures on an imagined staircase became memorable cameos. Hanging the washing out in a make-believe wind only to hear a thunderclap the moment a flapping shirt was finally ‘secured’ to the line was typical of this duo’s great sense of the ridiculous and good timing. There were some extraordinary and wonderful embellishments, like a punk-like black bird made from a ruined umbrella and some bellows with large metal pliers for legs scrabbling for a grip, keys that moved magically beyond grasp, and, poetically, books that took flight, magic and mayhem in equal measure.

For Brontë fans there were enough ludicrous and inventive references to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights to keep the laughs coming. And if that wasn’t enough there were sometimes just moments of delightful silly madness, Barr and Corbett becoming like puppets in a demented dance, then suddenly dropping out of the role to engage the audience in a Q & A. We Are Brontë has all the hallmarks of a classic wardrobe Production: ambitious, risk-taking, edgy, just downright different. A very mixed audience lapped this up. I loved it.   ★★★★★   Simon Bishop     20th January2016

 

Photo  © Jack Offord 2015