theSpace – Triplex Studio
In a small studio downstairs at the theSpace, a stool is placed in front of a wooden partition. Performer Lexi Wolfe then draws upon four of Shakespeare’s characters, King Henry (Henry V), Hamlet (Hamlet), Portia (The Merchant of Venice) and Lady Macbeth (Macbeth) and questions what happens to them after the events of the plays.
The minimal staging doesn’t detract at all from the four monologues that Wolfe flawlessly performs. The partition is used as a space for Wolfe to change behind, but it also acts as a confessional box. The characters are each confessing to the audience their sentiments about the world from which they come.
The language is not written in iambic pentameter, but it still fits the fluent and lyrical style of Shakespeare. It is evident that Wolfe has researched the plays and characters extensively. She asks the questions we are all thinking; such as how has Hamlet found time to write a play whilst plotting his uncle’s death? And, is Portia really happy about marrying?
Wolfe’s King Henry is portrayed as a forthright man who will only divulge information for a pint and her Hamlet is a moody, yet comedic teenager who contemplates life moments before death.
The costumes are limited but serve their purpose. Going from Hamlet to Portia, Wolfe changes into a green dress behind the wooden partition, but also rubs foundation into her face in front of the audience, which is very effective for the male to female transition. Before that, her King Henry wears a hood, giving an ominous feel.
In this insightful and cleverly executed play, Wolfe skilfully commands the attention of every member of the audience with her captivating acting. However, you do need an understanding of the texts as otherwise you may find yourself a little lost.
Written by: Lexi Wolfe
Produced by: Slade Wolfe Enterprises
After Shakespeare plays at theSpace Triplex Studio until 26 August. Further information and bookings can be found here.