Review: The Forest and the Field, Chris Goode and Company, Pulse Fringe Festival, New Wolsey Theatre Studio, June 7

Billed as a “gently seductive, immersive piece of non-fiction story-telling”, Goode asked members of the audience to consider the nature of theatre and how it related to the outside world.

As narrator of a show which was certainly well researched but verged on a lecture, he explored the use of the letter O as an utterance in classical theatre and, in a more tangible form, in the shape of the original Globe Theatre.

In terms of the O as a confined space, he pointed to the forests and islands which had contained characters down the centuries, particularly in Shakespeare plays. As an utterance it had the potential to reveal high emotion.

A lone male actor played out some of the ideas, bravely appearing completely naked for some scenes.

Inexplicable features of the show included the presence, behind the audience, of a black cat which had an unfathomable impact.

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In a show which became increasingly esoteric and where the links became, arguably, more tenuous, Goode posed a series of questions about the role of theatre and whether it could change the world.

The audience, seated “in-the-round”, certainly seemed to be attentive but my own view is that the show could have been more satisfying and, indeed, more interesting, if the tone had been a little less patronising and the audience had been allowed to provide, or at least discuss, some answers.

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David Green

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