Writer: Bryony Lavery
Director: Laura Vorwerg
Reviewer: John Roberts
The Public Reviews Rating:
Bryony Lavery’s Morelight has become a firm fringe favourite over the past decade, not only thanks to Lavery’s lyrical prose and beautifully constructed characters but also because it boasts a large mainly female cast. However director Laura Vorwerg has stripped the play back and reduced the cast size presumably to fit a fringe scale.
Morelight is entombed alongside the dead emperors body with his other concubines, living out their final days as the find themselves unable to escape the entrapment the emperor still has over his court, here the women discover what it is like to be truly free, to question and to find life despite their inevitable demise.
Played with delicacy and maturity Natasha Shah displays a performance of great magnitude in the lead role of Morelight massively overshadowing her fellow cast members who generally handle the text well but fail to bring weight and truth to the words that they speak, especially Nabil Aziz who struggles throughout, his vocal is unintelligible and profoundly weakens the overall production.
Director Laura Vorweg has a strong eye for detail, she creates beautiful on stage imagery throughout, however her attention to detail, is also her downfall – why were the women’s feet not bound, yet the ancient language of the fan so articulate?
This is an enjoyable production of Lavery’s modern classic, which never fails to elicit spine tingling moments, a shame that not all of the elements of this production does the same.