Sunday 20 April 2014

Lace Market Theatre. Review of Till Eulenspiegel - Reloaded.

As part of the theatre exchange between Nottingham's Lace Market Theatre and two German theatre groups from Karlsruhe, a second theatre piece was shown by Theater Die Käuze on 16th and 17th April 2014. This was Pascal Paul Harang's fresh and colourful reinterpretation of a selection tales of the legendary prankster, Till Eulenspiegel. The production drew in some near capacity audiences.

Theater Die Käuze performed the piece, Till Eulenspiegel - reloaded in an eclectic mix of styles through the mediums of story telling, dance – modern and ancient – drama and broad comedy. The piece was broken up into a fractured spectrum of short scenes covering the life of Till from his birth to his death.

There are over fifty stories surrounding the impudent trickster and Pascal Paul Harang has wisely cut the work down to less than half that amount for his theatrical presentation. The cast of thirteen work as an ensemble throughout with Mathis Harang and Joshua Wetterauer playing the boy Till in different performances and showing off their individual dance skills as well some fine acting.
The charismatic Viktor Müller plays Till as an adult and does so with an edge of comic malevolence coupled with charming wit. He is seen as almost literally dancing rings around the characters that persecute him and on whom he takes his wicked revenge.

The ensemble worked well together considering the different practicalities of the Lace Market stage compared to the much smaller stage at the company's theatre in Karlsruhe. There were over thirty parts in all and all were clearly delineated. The piece was costumed in a mix of modern and historical to show how the stories of Till are still relevant to society today. Till himself was always in red to illustrate his position as an outsider.
Till Eulenspiegel sought to illustrate the foolish nature of mankind and their innate snobbery and this was particularly well illustrated in the paintings scene where the buyers were practically orgasmic in their vocal gasps whilst looking at a blank wall and fooling themselves they could see wonderful commissions. I liked the touch with the red noses especially.
Some English was injected into the piece and there was an authentic conversation between Viktor Müller and Marius Schmidt as the clown. Their protracted conversation was well acted, well spoken with local references and drew a round of applause from the audience but I was technically unsure where this conversation fitted into the piece.

There was an interesting use of visual styles and creative application of live sound effects plus the benefit of surtitles for the English speaking audience. All in all a thought provoking piece vigorously performed by Theater Die Käuze from Karlsruhe.


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