Propeller's horrible history: Richard III
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern definitely aren't dying

Trying to have Faith, Hope and Charity at Southwark Play

FHC_bw_finalcrop This revival of the Odon Von Horvath play is unfortunate to have been the scraping of shrimp paste between two choicest slices of home-made bread.

Following a performance like that I'd seen given by Richard Clothier at the Hampstead Theatre the night before is no easy task. And then the night after FH&C came the wonderful Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - more on that coming soon - so to say that it feels overshadowed is an underestimate.

Set in 1932 in an economically depressed Germany during the rise of Hitler and totalitarianism it throws the spotlight on the politics of the time and its impact on the common man and woman trying to get by during difficult times.

Its central character, Elizabeth, is a young woman down on her luck. She wants to get a job selling underwear but needs a sales permit that she can't afford, until she has a job.

The ever hopeful Elizabeth is gradually worn down by the petty bureaucracy, a sort of Kafka-esque reality, and as her situation gets worse, charity too gets thin on the ground.

I'm trying not to be too harsh about FH&C in the context of when I saw it but it was just OK. It's an engaging and interesting enough story but the key problem was that some of the acting just wasn't up to scratch. Rebecca Oldfield who plays Elizabeth was a little over-earnest at times and needs a more nuanced performance to really earn the empathy this tragic character deserves.

There were some good performances though from older members of the cast who played multiple characters and it is nicely and simply staged. Poly, who saw it with me, hated it and gave it one and a half stars but I think that is a little harsh and I'm giving it three.

It runs until July 16 at the Southwark Playhouse.


Poly found this one for me: Helena Lymbery - who was one of the better actors in Faith, Hope and Charity - was in His Dark Materials with Mr W.