Monday, 10 September 2012
Theatre review: I Am a Camera
This is a story that's become familiar in both a more spectacular form as a stage and film musical, and in a more sexually explicit form in last year's TV film Christopher and His Kind (written in 1951, I Am a Camera skirts around the issue of Isherwood's sexuality, although to modern eyes his and Sally's is recognisable as a fag-and-hag relationship.) In these circumstances it's possible for the original work to pale in comparison, but Anthony Lau's production does an excellent job of showing the play off as a warm, witty and gripping piece of theatre in its own right.
With Southwark Playhouse's time in this building almost over they seem to be getting more comfortable with covering up The Vault's visually impressive, but impractical, split tunnel. It helps with the acoustics and even seems to have helped raise the temperature of the damp space a bit - but in this design the raised stage means that stomping or dropping things onto the floor also causes a pleasingly moody echo. Although other than that the excellent set and costume design is rather overshadowed - visually, this production is surely going to be memorable for vast acres of chest hair and teeth (Melling providing the former, Humphries and Rix the latter.)
I Am a Camera by John Van Druten, based on Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood, is booking until the 22nd of September at Southwark Playhouse's Vault.
Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes including interval.