The Bunker Trilogy: Morgana
Jethro Compton Productions
From 30 July 2014 to 25 August 2014
Review by David Chadderton
The final play I saw in this trilogy, although officially the first, is based on the King Arthur legend, but its method of adaptation or interpretation is very different from the other two.
Where Macbeth chops up Shakespeare's original text and Agamemnon tells a modern tale that parallels the legend, Morgana uses characters who are aware of their legendary forebears and have been play-acting at being Knights of the Round Table for years.
The thirteen friends who joined up are now down to just three officers in the trenches in France. Arthur is the sensible one who calms disputes between his colleagues. Lancelot is a bit of a bully who believes that men should settle disputes with their fists. Gawain is rather like a P G Wodehouse character, a bit of an upper-class buffoon, but he becomes the emotional centre of the play later on.
There are some parallel stories that touch on the events in various versions of the Arthurian legend. Arthur and Lancelot appear to be in love with the same girl back home, Gwen, and we see them both meet her in flashbacks. There are rumours of a magical witch girl out in No Man's Land, Morgana Le Fay.
After a failed attempt by Lancelot to get his inexperienced friend to sleep with a prostitute, Gawain meets and falls for a French girl. But is she a witch, or possibly another local prostitute?
There is the same cast as the others, with Hayden Wood as Arthur, Sam Donnelly as Lancelot, James Marlowe as Gawain and Bebe Sanders in the female roles.
This play has lots of passing time humour, delivered rapid-fire, which works well under Jethro Compton's slick direction. In performance, it is as impressive as the others in the trilogy, but there are a few too many gaps and vagueries in the story. Perhaps expanding this into a longer piece would bridge these.
But the whole trilogy is quite an achievement and well worth seeing.