Life of Insects ****

03Apr09

Cobweb Theatre Company, Adam House, Edinburgh
Thursday 2nd April – Saturday 4th April 2009
(The Byre Theatre, St Andrews – Friday 24th April 2009)

Cobweb Theatre Company’s latest venture is a double-bill evening of theatre, beginning with Karel Capek’s Life of Insects,  an exploration of class, gender roles and human nature, but unusually shown through “blades of grass”. Director Tom Birch presents his audience with a world in which insects love, compete, tease, steal, murder, worship and wage war, but the audience is guided by the, slightly intoxicated, Vagrant. The Czechoslovakian, post World War One, play held a magnifying glass up to society when it was first produced and the decision to ask those same questions now reflects the similarities between the economic and social climates.

The nature of the text demands a strong and united ensemble cast, fortunately this element is a huge strength for Cobweb Theatre Company, particular in this production. Impressive individual performances are also powerful throughout, especially Kate Bond in both her parts as the love-sick poet butterfly, Felix, and her ant dictator. Stable performances are lead by Emily-Rose Conlon, who bravely takes on the leading role of the Vagrant and succeeds in allowing her audience to embrace the heightened theatrical reality presented. Memorable performances are also given by Zena Rose Sayers and Ross Stater, as the beetle couple who delight in the notion of owning something, no matter what that may be and allowing question of possessions to be raised.

Birch’s well paced production embraces Capek’s themes and moves seamlessly through the acts of the different classes of insects, in an effective episodic style. The production is assisted by extremely impressive costumes, but a few forgivable technical first night flaws occurred. Overall, Capek’s play was an inspired choice by Cobweb Theatre Company, as the play observes the circle of life and the unfulfilling result of war, all accomplished with great panache and style.

TF

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One Response to “Life of Insects ****”

  1. 1 Anne

    Enjoyed this play “Life of Insects” very much, and would go to see it again. I was enthralled throughout the performance and never lost interest. The costumes were also beautifully made, well done CTC.
    Would like to point out that the male beetle character was played by Ross Slater and not Ross Stator


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