Diary of a Nobody

3
Mary Franklin's adaptation at the King's Head Theatre
By Stephen - 26th Jan 2015

Photo courtesy of Rocco RedondoCharles Pooter in "A Diary of a Nobody" seeks to document an unremarkable life in 1888/9. Rough Haired Pointer's four man adaptation, is in the same style as the long running "39 Steps": Fast paced changes of character, surreal twists of ingenuity and some mugging at the audience. The general effect is funny and enjoyable. However, the production did suffer from poor sound balance of the musical effects that made the opening of the production particularly challenging to follow. Despite this, and some rather unfortunate drops in pace early on, the production works remarkably well at putting us at the centre of Pooter's petty victories, small pleasures and terrible puns.

The set is a beautiful recreation of Weedon Grossmith original line drawn illustrations of the Diary, all clean black ink lines on cream. The costumes again reflecting this design also appearing to have been hand drawn. Such was its effect; when part of the set was damaged in a fast and severe stage accident; most of the audience's concern was for the set rather than tumbling actor!  This and other forced and unforced errors were handled well by the performers. 

Though all four shared the narrative role, the actual part of Pooter was really played by Jake  Curran all whiskers and sharp turns of the head. You really believed his joy in the small things of life, such as spending an evening reading Exchange and Mart to his wife. She in turn, was played by Jordan Mallory-Skinner with the deepest and most resonant voice on stage his/her presence perfectly complemented Pooter and Carrie's inner rage was shown in an extraordinarily expressionistic manner. A bearded Geordie Wright, made much of the comic potential in his roles, many of them female, including Sarah the maid and various other monstrous characters. His ability to drown his sorrows in rice and glitter was impressive. However, it was George Fouracres that stood out for me, in a fine cast, for his physical and vocal virtuosity with which he played, according to the programme 15 out of the 32 parts in the production. Each one utterly distinct and delivered with finely tuned humour.

This is a production which is joyful and inventive, but either needs a cut or a little more time to get to grips with the dips in energy. 

Stephen Artus


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