Emilia Galotti, a German bourgeois tragedy by Gotthold Ephrahim Lessing discusses the struggle between middle class morality when it comes up against Upper Class power.
Dr Mark Ewbank’s production was deftly performed by a young cast, with some outstanding performances from Che Watson as the Prince, Francesca Burgoyne as his exploited and provoked wife and Roseanna Lynch as the title character beautifully portrayed the simple young girl who the Prince has taken a liking to.
As the story unravels from farce to tragedy, Emilia’s tale begins to match that of Isabella in Measure of Measure, faced against the frivolous power of the Prince and his plotting servants, her future quickly dissipates.
Accompanied by a classical music soundtrack, pieces by the likes of Vivaldi and Bach are used as interludes between scenes, sometimes perhaps for a little too long but they do successfully evoke the setting and emotions of the play.
Performed in an intimate Pub Theatre, four heavy pillars dominate the space and the production too. This was a quality production occasionally stifled by the space but often used successfully; but this powerful play is well worth going to see for the performances alone.
If this production of Emilia Galotti was given a little more space, and a clearer design vision in both the use of the space and in costume, the show could really pack a punch. It’s lovely to see a rarely performed play presented in such an unexpected space.
Morality vs Power is an issue which has affected people to this day. And the plot of this play, despite its bourgeois quality can still resonate in our culture today.
Review by Isabella Van Braeckel
Emilia Galotti: Rarely staged in English, Lessing’s Emilia Galotti is a tale of absolute power, lust and honour. Considered to be as famous as Hamlet in its native Germany, this Enlightenment-era tragedy tells the story of the virtuous Emilia, whose wedding day starts a chain of events which unravel apace. Based on the Roman myth of Verginia, the play shows the limitless excess of the aristocracy and the will of the people to resist. Lessing’s important tragedy showed how frivolous cause can lead to harrowing effect, and shone a light on European Royal autocracy.
Author: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Director: Dr Mark Ewbank
Barons Court Theatre, 28a Comeragh Rd, London W14 9HP
Box Office: Telephone 020 8932 4747
Preview 1st September
2nd September to 13th September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014