WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Young Vic
WHEN: 15/9, press night 20/9, runs to 4/11
Two years ago Natalie Abrahami directed Juliet Stevenson in a memorable and mesmeric static rendition of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at this very venue.
- Read on for reasons including why Stevenson’s performance is the most acrobatic we’ve ever seen
Reading ahead about the subject material for Wings, an aviator and wing walker suffers a stroke that affects her sense of reality, we wondered whether the stillness that made Happy Days would be repeated here.
Wings could not be more different.
One of the best things about the theatres at the Young Vic is that the seating is reconfigured between each production so each show is staged in the way that best suits it, rather than being dictated to by the limitations of the venue.
When we arrive there is seating either side of a stage in the middle, very much like its predecessor Yerma, except without the glass box. However, once the show starts, it becomes clear that the stage can move from side to side and see-through curtains are swished back and forth allowing images to be projected onto them adding to the sense of disorientation as Stevenson is suspended on moving wires that spin her in different directions in the air throughout the show.
The play is 70 minutes without interval and Stevenson’s performance is 5*, capturing the sense of being trapped inside your own body and an inability to either act or articulate in the way you intend.
Abrahami’s direction is especially inventive and completely at odds with what made Happy Days so fascinating. Unfortunately, as a piece of writing we wanted more from Wings, not seen in London for 30 years.
However, if you want to see one of the most acrobatic and accomplished theatrical performances we’ve ever seen, don’t miss.