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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Fabrication at The Print Room

London’s newest and quirkiest theatre The Print Room launches its first season with the UK premiere of ‘Fabrication’ (‘Affabulazione’) by Italian film maker Pier Paolo Pasolini, translated by award winning poet Jamie McKendrick.

This play has been turned down by theatres before, most likely because of the shocking extreme nature of the material. It is a powerful piece that explores the relationship between a father and son, focusing also on a reverse of the Oedipus myth and the thoughts of philosopher Sophocles, that at times completely possess and poison the father’s mind. He is tormented by finding an answer and desperately tries to negotiate reason with his gradually deteriorating mind.

I found I was disturbed at times by the play, but this emotion was quickly overtaken by my amazement at the superb acting and the realisation of this tricky subject matter and script. Fabrication is a vehicle for a male actor to showcase everything he has got, and Jasper Britton steps up to the task as the father. He is both physically and emotionally very energetic, acting the self-destructive man with intelligent insight. I also very much enjoyed Max Bennett’s acting as the abused son, his concentration makes the role totally believable from start to finish.

Lucy Bailey’s staging is physically noticeable from the moment you sit down in this small theatre space. I have seen The Print Room as an exhibition room and could barely believe the transformation it had undergone. Immediately you feel claustrophobic and lost. A central black box gradually separates to reveal the almost bare ‘stage’, covered in grit and glistening with raw heat from the surrounding burnt umber walls. It is imaginative and unique, I have never seen anything quite like it. The passage that the audience looks through is narrow and I found it really focused my attention. It echoes with the all-important moment in the play when the father observes his son through a keyhole. There is a theme of obsessive voyeurism and this is definitely felt by the audience too, thanks to the innovative staging.

While others might sneer at this daring debut, I think it a brave feat and am impressed by The Print Room’s first steps into the world of London theatre.

Fabrication continues at The Print Room until 4 December, book on 08444 77 1000, or book here.

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