Jess Barrett reviews Fourth Monkey's adaptation of The Elephant Man.
The Elephant Man is a beautiful story. Full of sorrow, heartbreak and triumph over all of life's obstacles. The play follows the tale of a young Joseph Merrick (Daniel Chrisistomou) and his battle to overcome a terrible deformity, set in the Victorian period.
Fourth Monkey's adaptation of this moving story was outstanding. The story flourished under the direction and creative eye of Steve Green. The choices made were unusual when representing the Elephant Man's disfiguration. I don't want to give too much away as it's quite special to see and interpret for yourself when all is revealed as you see Joseph for the first time. The opening was brilliant - James Lewis, playing Tom Norman, gave the show a cracking start. Full of energy and his opening speech was delivered with a punch that commanded the attention of the audience.
Joseph is muted for a long period of the play, only ever making a few groans or breathing heavily, every now and again. Daniel Chrisistomou's ability to communicate such powerful emotion with only the real use of his eyes is simply breathtaking. His commitment to the physicality of this character was powerful and consistent throughout. However, it is Fourth Monkey's brilliant ensemble work that is the strength of this production; it's what holds it all together and shoots it into a four star show.
12 - 24 August at The Space on Niddry Street.