Woyzeck at Birmingham Rep

by Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour

Woyzeck at Birmingham Rep

Directed by Roxana Silbert, Woyzeck (pronounced voy-check) is at Birmingham Rep until Saturday 23rd June as part of Birmingham International Dance Festival #BIDF18. It, at first, appears to be a spectacle of a show, but really at its heart it is the story of a man who is pushed and falls into madness.

Thomas Pickles as Woyzeck and community photo by Graeme Braidwood
Thomas Pickles as Woyzeck and community photo by Graeme Braidwood

Set in a war ravaged modern town, that wasn’t quite Birmingham, Woyzeck (Thomas Pickles) is a soldier partly shell shocked and partly being left on a diet of peas from a can, the army medical team appear to be performing medical experiments on him. His girlfriend Marie (Jalleh Alizadeh) has been looking after their baby.

This is a modern retelling by Leo Butler of Georg Büchner’s unfinished story, which was originally performed just before the First World War.

Thomas Pickles as Woyzeck and Jalleh Alizadeh as Marie photo by Graeme Braidwood
Thomas Pickles as Woyzeck and Jalleh Alizadeh as Marie photo by Graeme Braidwood

I’ve only mentioned two of the cast so far as the rest of the 80 names on the theatre programme are listed as community company. A call was put out to create the rest of the cast from local (Birmingham) actors, and this is a massive part of the production.

Seeing a cast so large that the first few rows of chairs are missing from the theatre is pretty special, more so that its made up of people from the Birmingham community who wanted to take part. Birmingham is a tremendously diverse culture and community, one person have heritage and culture totally different to the very next person and the next and the next. That said this cast of all manner of Birmingham people have one thing in common across the board. Their excitement!

Woyzeck community ensemble photo by Graeme Braidwood
Woyzeck community ensemble photo by Graeme Braidwood

From the moment they step on stage the community cast is alive and their enthusiasm is infectious, there a big dance scenes choreographed by Rosie Kay which while reminding me of the townsfolk opening scenes at Brum Panto also reminded me of Rosie’s fantastic single camera dance scene at the Birmingham handover to the commonwealth games earlier in 2018. Large swathes of dancers all doing something unique and hearing Birmingham voices on stage with our own distinct accent.

Special mentions in the community cast go to Josef Hyland as Drum Major, Troy Richards as Andres, Amir Ali as Showman and Linda Hisgett as the Doctor.

Woyzeck photo by Graeme Braidwood
Woyzeck photo by Graeme Braidwood

This is a show that is well worth a look especially if you are trying to escape World Cup Fever! Check out Woyzeck until Saturday 23rd June at Birmingham Rep:  birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/woyzeck.html


This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see Woyzeck on behalf of Birmingham Rep.

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