(Seen at the afternoon performance on 20th May 2017).
The set-up is simple enough. It has nothing to do with the description of the
play circulated beforehand, but it's interesting. A young soldier brings his
girlfriend and baby to Germany, lodges them in a flat above an abattoir, and
lets a pushy Captain's wife use it as a love-nest to get some much needed cash
in. His loyal friend is the object of her affections, and between encounters,
the soldiers discuss life. Oh, and the Captain himself is a bit of a, well, but
And that is about it, until Woyzeck signs up for medical experiments and
starts hallucinating. Unfortunately, the audience who has been loyal to the work
until this point feel it too - and Woyzeck's wife is lucky to escape at
least 10 minutes earlier than the rest of us.
A witless piece of revision and re-working with new characters from Jack
Thorne is given a brisk enough production by Joe Murphy. Tom Scutt's design of
padded walls is fine, until they start sprouting odd intestines in the second
half. Luckily, the Old Vic electricity meter ran out, forcing Neil Austin to put
most of the lights on candle-power. Combined with Murphy's dislike of setting
anything anywhere except centre stage far from the audience, it means you won't
see a lot very clearly (and a few actors have to put a fair bit on display,
John Boyega is decent enough in the title role, Ben Batt as his friend, too.
Sarah Greene is given little to do, as is Nancy Carroll, but both get on with
it. Darrell D'Silva also survives a ludicrously pretentious scene in German as a
doctor. All of them, by the end, seem to want to be elsewhere, and at the
interval, the monkey noted several in the audience taking the same decision.
It feels them to be wise to do so.