Everyman - Barbican Pit 1998

Thursday, 19 February, 1998

The story concerns 'Everyman' a man who has lived his life selfishly. He is rich and enjoys pleasures of the flesh without concern for anyone else. However, he is visited by 'Death' who strips him of all his pleasures including Strength and his Five Wits. Before he goes on his journey to his maker, he seeks help from Kindred, Goods, and Fellowship, but all refuse to help. However, a feeble and weak 'Good Deeds' stays with him. As Everyman begins his journey he begins to rid himself of sin and self-satisfaction which results in 'Good Deeds' becoming stronger and healthy.

This Royal Shakespeare Company production only lasts 1 hour 15 minutes, and it is a good job because I could not have stayed in my seat much longer. It is banal and boring to the extreme. The morality theme has been done many times before, but probably never so inapt.

Joseph Mydell as 'Everyman' is unconvincing in the role. He performs like an actor reading a script, lacking any conviction and failing to make the character his. However, Josette Bushell-Mingo playing the parts of 'Death', 'Kindred' and 'Knowledge' is the opposite. She plays each part confidently and this shines through her performance. She is very talented and a delight to watch. Myra Mc Fadyen also puts in a fine performance playing 'Nin', 'Good Deeds' and the 'Charlatan Priest'. She also has quite a nice singing voice!

This RSC production in the Pit, has all their usual trade marks. The stage is almost bare, bar a few rocks with water coming from them, and the occasional prop brought on like a bath and a table. There is a cast of 6 playing nearly 20 roles between them. And there is your usual singing and dancing, which is a 'god' send because it helps keep one awake.

Give this one a miss!

(Darren Dalglish)

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