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A Feast for the Senses

The National

Alice Chambers reviews ‘From Morning to Midnight’ at The National (January 2014), directed by Dennis Kelly

***

As seen in Pegasus Pages, March 2014.

As a keen lover of The National Theatre, I went to watch this unnerving play on a torrential Saturday afternoon. With the chaotic mounting of prep before Exeat hanging on my shoulders, I unfortunately had not researched the play before I went. Therefore, with much anticipation and a completely open mind, I awaited this performance.  It is the story of a bank clerk, who becomes intoxicated by a client and in a moment of elation, steals the contents of the till in a mad rush to pursue her. After becoming aware of his blatant error, he battles with himself, consequently deciding to embark on a journey of self-discovery; his ultimate goal being to find an experience worth purchasing as well as a reason for living.

What a rollercoaster it is, full of spiritually elative scenes in a church and intense cycle races with unimaginable stakes. It opens the senses in an entirely different way, almost intellectually stimulating through thoughts which question humankind’s meaning for life.

The stage designs by Soutra Gilmour are simply breathtaking, for example a large sheet was used as snow, the bellowing of the material representing a whirlwind. A score by Dave Price based on themes from Wagner’s Tannhauser adds colour to the scenes and brings them alive, most notably with regards to the mechanical activities of the opening scene. At times shocking, others hilariously entertaining, Kelly wondrously portrays a man on the brink of insanity.

If you have a chance, I do recommend that you go and watch it.

Image: By Geoff Wilson/WWF-UK on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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