Reptember: Prometheus / Dogs Dialogue / John Gabriel Borkmann

Theatre company The Faction are performing nine solo shows under the umbrella title of Reptember. I struggled to decide which trilogy to go for, but in the end I went for Prometheus, Dogs Dialogue and John Gabriel Borkmann.

Prometheus, a new version of Aeschlyus’ classic by Will Gore, is performed by Mark Leipacher. It’s a modern-day version of the concept of eternal punishment, with the titular character, an ex-bartender, undergoing punishment for his past activities which include terrorism and torture. It’s a powerful piece, but rather static, with Prometheus spending the entire time bound to a stepladder.

Miguel de Cervantes’ witty piece Dogs Dialogue has been adapted by Gareth Jandrell. It stars the superb Natasha Rickman, who manages to act out her persona as a bull mastiff bitch without seeming ridiculous and managing to evoke our sympathy. On one level, this tale of a dog’s life and treatment by many different owners reminded me of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty; in a deeper sense it struck me as an allegory for the treatment and subordinate role of women in Cervantes’ time, with a hugely relevant feminist subtext. This piece was the highlight of the performance for me.

Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkmann is performed in a new adaptation by Mark Leipacher. Alexander Guiney portrays the title character, a corrupt banker sent to jail. It is bleak and arresting, but not so compelling as the previous monologue. Overall, though, this is a strong albeit melancholy trilogy of short plays.

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