Lasting Impressions: The Anatomy of Melancholy

Warwick Arts Centre, 14th March, 2013.


Based on the text written by Vicar and Librarian Robert Burton 400(ish) years ago, this production by Stan’s Cafe (in collaboration with Warwick Arts Centre) examined the various notions/theories/cures for melancholy amidst the dusty setting of a dark and stuffy lecture hall. This proved tragically apt.

Naturally, the text is archaic and therefore the production was bound to be a challenge for a modern audience; however, although there was, without doubt, some poetic beauty and antagonistic wit within the text as it was used, this production was static, unfulfilling and very, very hard work to watch. The actors were undoubtedly very good and believable, working hard to salvage this near-3 hour-long production with some physical comedy, live music and moments of spark- and I won’t deny that there were titters early on (before the sinking feeling of endlessness set in). Unfortunately though, nothing seemed to shift or change enough (set or actors) to maintain interest for such a length of time. I’m shy of neither verbosity nor challenge in theatre, and I hate to say it, but the glacial pace and overall static monotony of this particular production left me with a deep apathy, a numb bum, and a need for matchsticks to catch my drooping eyes…

Still, on a lighter note, where would we be without companies being brave enough to tackle these neglected texts of bygone eras, or companies willing to dig deep and produce something interesting and different? I commend the effort and I respect the difficulty involved, but I simply cannot rave about this one, it was a glacial disappointment! I did see some great productions at Warwick Arts Centre a few years ago so keep an eye on AlwaysTimeForTheatre- the next ‘Lasting Impressions’ review is a case of same place, completely opposite experience…

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