Waves. NT. West Yorkshire Playhouse. 19-09-08

This was something genuinely new and different. I haven’t seen anything like it before and nor has anybody else. It is like a subtle and beautifully acted radio play, which you can also watch live, and in which the actors provide the sound effects and film live footage which is relayed to a giant screen as the play progresses. The actors are required to be technically astonishingly good, fast,accurate and unobtrusive, as well as creating heartfelt characters which are revealed slowly as strands of sense emerge amongst the collage of sounds, images and Virginia Woolf’s writing. I don’t think I have ever seen anything which would be more challenging to perform. Woolf’s stream of consciousness style works beautifully in this context and some of the images and effects which are obtained life are just beautiful.
I just wish I liked Woolf’s writing more. I have always felt that she is mannered and self conscious and there is nothing that even a wonderful production like this can do to change that. Let’s hope that Katie Mitchell and her cast have a go at Joyce next. Now that would be worth seeing.


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