Known as the ‘Engine Room’ of the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Other Place is a really cool contemporary venue that showcases a lot of unique and bold pieces of theatre.
Their latest production is an adaptation of David Edgar’s Maydays. First staged in 1983, this strong piece of theatre highlights the parallels between the political revolution in the late sixties to our current climate. With a story focusing on a young student named Martin Glass (Mark Quartley) the story spans a multitude of stories across three continents and 25 years of political history.
Exploring socialism and capitalism, we follow four character’s journey’s. Martin (Mark Quartley), Jeremy (Richard Cant), Pavel (Jay Taylor) and Amanda (Lily Nichol). Throughout the story they are conflicted and confused by what they believe in and the way their beliefs are reshaped through the ever-changing political landscape.
Mark Quartley gives a superb performance as the conflicted young man who deeply believes in revolutionary Communism but the challenges he faces and he struggles with his morals mean his beliefs slip into other political ideas. Quartley is engaging in his performance as he portrays his emotions with real authenticity. As the audience you really are with him every step of the way through his internal dilemma. Alongside him, Lily Nichol is remarkable as strong comrade Amanda. She sticks to her guns as her mind never wavers from her belief and it’s truly thrilling to watch as many challenges are thrown her way.
Director Owen Horsely has really transformed this production and given it immense life with his dynamic staging. Split into three acts, every time the audience enter the theatre the staging is different. Opening in the round, then going into traverse and finally ending in proscenium, it’s a really interesting and exciting experience that feels slightly disorientating yet keeps you on edge. It almost feels as if you’re seeing a completely new show every time. During the intervals the actors come into the bar and start the next scene, all of thing combines to create a really exhilarating experience that enhances the pace, fluidity and overall feeling of the play.
Even for those less clued up on politics (like me) it’s a true theatrical experience that is both tremendously acted and triumphantly executed. There’s a lot to take in but it’s a gripping performance that proves the relevance of Edgar’s writing and just how timely Maydays is.
On at the RSC’s The Other Place until the 20th of October, tickets and information can be found online here.