If you can’t entice an audience to watch Jonson’s The Alchemist in Oxford, where else?
Academics aside, Oxford is where The Alchemist‘s earliest recorded performance took place in 1610, the plague in London forcing the players to relocate here.
But with Creation Theatre now at the helm, the scene is set for a particularly riveting evening, housed in the grandiose, ultra-modern setting of the new Andrew Wiles building in Oxford’s Maths Institute.
THINK BLOW UP DOLLS, SORCERY, KEANO REEVES MATRIX POSTURING, KARATE KID KICKS AND BENNY HILL STYLE ANTICS
The Alchemist is based on a noble family forced to retire to their second home in the countryside to get away from the plague which is spreading fast in London, an extremely relatable premise in these post Covid days.
Their city dwelling is left in the hands of loyal servant Face (Herb Cuanalo), who proves himself to be anything but, by teaming up with a pair of machiavellian fraudsters Subtle (Nicholas Osmond) and Doll (Emily Woodward) who come up with a brilliantly deviant plan with which to make their fortune.
If you’re keen to watch an engaging, mad-cap, farcical, bawdy and captivating version of Jonson’s most successful play, then this is it!
The title gives the game away, but as Face’s alchemist, played so heroically by Nicholas Osmond, finds his stride, his aptitude for the job stretches as far as matchmaking, empire building and eternal youth, as much as turning cheap metal into gold, which Creation revels in.
Those of you, like me, whose grasp of The Alchemist relies on vague GSCE recollections, may have to do some googling beforehand, as director Anna Tolputt‘s fast tempo, multiple-roled cast and fantastical agenda mean you need to keep up.
No stale, stuffy Renaissance drama here then. Think blow up dolls, sorcery, Keano Reeves Matrix style posturing, Ralph Macchio Karate Kid kicks, sauciness and Benny Hill style antics, all of which Creation runs with.
However, regardless of the maverick story-telling, the extensive and wordy script does require maximum concentration, and judging by the yawning gentlemen sitting next to me during one of Mammon’s longer speeches, not everyone is up to the task.
hurry because tickets are selling out fast!
If, on the other hand you are keen to watch an engaging, mad-cap, farcical, bawdy, and captivating version of Jonson’s most successful play, then this is it! It doesn’t get any better.
But hurry because tickets are selling out fast! Creation Theatre’s The Alchemist runs until Saturday October 21 at The Maths Institute, Oxford. It then moves onto V.O Gallery, W1S from October 27 – 29 October Tickets at https://creationtheatre.co.uk/show/the-alchemist/