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Review: The Bald Prima Donna, Wharf Theatre, Devizes
THIS is the time of year when the Wharf Theatre in Devizes tries out something a little experimental and “left field” - some work better than others.
Lou Cox has chosen to direct Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Prima Donna, a prime example of the Theatre of the Absurd, which is a very French tradition going back to Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi in the late 19th century.
Ionesco wrote The Bald Prima Donna, which has nothing to do with opera singers, hirsute or otherwise, in 1948 and it went down a storm in France, particularly as it lampoons the English, whom the French never forgave for winning the war for them.
It did less well in Britain, though it was a breath of fresh air after all the mindless drawing room comedies that inhabited the West End at the time.
Ms Cox directs with great energy, getting her cast to mug and gesticulate frantically throughout. For the generation that grew up with Monty Python’s Flying Circus it was all a bit passé, but younger members of the audience enjoyed it hugely.
Congratulations to the cast of Helen Wuscher, Peter Wallis, Emily Jayne Anslow, Julie Baker, Chris Palmer and Jamie Sandy for their intelligent performances in what is really just a suitcase full of king’s new clothes.