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12 October 2013


The Good Person of Sichuan
Made in Colchester
Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Saturday 12th October 2013
Playing in the Mercury's main house, Brecht's intriguing interpretation of what it takes to be a good person amid a corrupt society shouts it's epic theatre style over a much smaller, yet somewhat harder hitting piece, in the Mercury Studio.  Both plays are inspired by the same events, leading to an interesting and unique opportunity to compare and contrast such differing styles of text, direction and performance.
Nikolai Foster;s production brings The Good Person of Sichuan bang up to date, while also maintaining all of the epic theatre influences and intentions so key to Brecht's work.  Tanya Foster is compelling as the title character, embracing the detached nature required of her characterisation, yet also maintaining an absorbing natural stage presence throughout.  There are some strong performances too from the supporting cast, notably Jake Davies as Wang the water seller and Gary Shelford as the pilot love interest.
The intention of Brecht's work is to make the audience think about the central topic address in the play, and to strip back much of the traditional theatricality to constantly bring the audience back to the reality of the play text.  Fourth walls are broken down and actors often play multiple roles to remove any naturalism that may detract from the message being portrayed.  Foster's direction achieves these aims admirably, getting the audience contemplating their place in society and to what extent their lives can be considered "good".

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