Student Review – The Pillowman

The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh – New Wolsey Young Company – New Wolsey Studio

This was a fantastic, mind chilling theatre piece set in a totalitarian state where a writer, Katurian , is arrested and interrogated by two policeman who are investigating a series of child murders that have strong similarities to his short stories.

In this play be ready for twists and turns, strong dark themes and violent scenes.

Tupolski (Charlie Shephard ) and Ariel (Tom Beattie) played the policemen, and they stood out as the people the play ran with, being humorous at one time  but then executing horrible, violent acts.

Of the two, the one that really stood out was Ariel as throughout the play he developed in many ways. At the start he came across as strict, harsh and angry about everything but towards the end he really connected with Katurian and we saw a vulnerable side to him.

The character of Michal played by George Howarth was very well presented as a person with learning difficulties. He didn’t overplay the character – and showed an outwardly innocent person that had some dark twists in his mind.

Harry Longbottom did well as Katurian as he had to be on stage all the time. And the relationship with his brother was developed very well.

The staging was very minimal but enhanced the play with the lighting which gave the room a dark, foreboding feel.

This was a play of many layers – and it was hard to tell what was reality and what was the result of Katurian’s imagination. But the tension was racked up – and although a little long it kept the attention focused on the action and the story.

A shocking and dramatic performance – if a little overlong. It could have finished at the end of the first half, although the second half tied up a few loose ends – it was possibly not necessary to the enjoyment of the play.

Because of the bad language and violence this play is suitable for 15+

Students of East Bergholt High School

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