Adaptation: Richard Quick from a translation by Peter Green
Director: Simon Stokes
Reviewer: Anna Ambelez
Juvenal was an angry middle class man, born circa AD 55; he wrote 16 satires attacking the decadence of Rome and its moral decline, sound familiar? Women, gays, immigrants and plutocrats are among the subjects targeted. These satires were first delivered in AD 100, but so many remain relevant today, “Fortune has no divinity”, the one path “to a tranquil life,…through virtue“, “living beyond our means on credit”. They contain many famous tag lines, “who will guard the guards? if you must pray for something, “ask for a healthy body in a healthy mind”.
The fact that this writing has survived the test of time is a tribute to its worth; containing pearls of wisdom, astute observations, intellectual comments, witty barbed tales, a lot to absorb in 70 minutes, overload, repetitive, “brevity is the soul of wit”; no time is given to appreciate one scenario before you are lunched into another. The predominance of sexual orientated offerings, including, sodomy and incest could be offensive to some audience members. It is an “adult show”, so an age limit may be in order, certainly some indication of its content.
First performed in 1976, this show seemed tired. The large dressed stage was basically unused with Callow only occasionally moving a central chair. The show lacked the intimacy it has the potential to deliver. Only the power and beauty of Callow’s voice filled the auditorium. Given the undoubted talent of Mr Callow, his breadth of delivery and scope of acting prowess, were hardly touched on. The overall show lacked the pace, variety and focus that Callow is capable of.
Runs until25th August