Writer: Elena Bolster
Director : Natasha Pryce
May 30 2012
This review was originally written for The Public Reviews
Beast is a finely crafted piece of theatre. The hour long, one act play tells the story of the relationship that grows between an ageing artist, Egon, and a young prostitute Valie. Their romance starts from a night of paid for passion and evolves into an artist and his muse discovering a love that is deep and pure.
Bolster has crafted a stylish text. Her fictional story inspired by a painting, she has fleshed out a beautiful yet painfully tragic tableau. At times written in a lilting verse, her mastery of the language is a joy to listen to.
As Egon, Keiron Jecchinis deploys the maturity of his years and talent into an acting tour de force. Every aspect of his vocal delivery combined with his poise and movement, is meticulously crafted, and he transforms as a lover from rampancy to tenderness with a breath-taking elegance.
Mel Oskar is a young Icelandic actress, and her performance as Valie suggests a woman with a profound depth of talent for her age. Hers is an educated and literate character, and her awareness of her deepening love for the older man is a journey that she cleverly performs. At times a coquette, yet always wise beyond her years, she is a joy to watch. And at times of passion within the play both Jecchinis and Oskar come close to re-creating Charles Spencer’s famous quote of “pure theatrical Viagra”, such is the electricity of their (fully clothed) love making
This show is more than just two stunning performances though. It is a convergence of excellence, throughout the creative team. Pryce, together with Jennifer Malarkey who was responsible for Movement, has directed the duo with wit and perception. Alistair Turner’s clever and evocative set uses the tight confines of the White Bear’s auditorium effectively, and Matt O’Leary’s lighting also expands the constraints of the small performing area.
The play represents all that is excellent in London’s fringe and Helen Edwards is to be congratulated on delivering a show that clearly demonstrates a commitment to outstanding production values.
Runs until Jun 17